Jade pp 89-110 | Cite as

Post-Neolithic to Han Chinese Jades

Shang to Zhou Period
  • Angus Forsyth


This period of 1400 years witnessed the meteoric rise of bronze from the relative obscurity of the Erlitou period to the vital position it occupied by the time of the Shang/Yin period. In its assumption of a central role in ritual and funerary function, it would not be surprising if it had gradually but totally eclipsed jade; the latter material might have exited from the socio-ritual stage as a normal part of the evolution of cultural perceptions responsive to economic realities of production. That this did not happen is an astounding testament to the depth of the impact that jade had by this time made on Chinese society at all levels so that the acceptance of its superior position — albeit now shared with the new material bronze — was clearly a wholly unconscious and unquestioning one that was never subsequently to face any serious challenge. Indeed, the longer the life of the respect and affection exhibited toward jade, the stronger and the more inalienable jade's position became.


Warring State Autumn Period Central Perforation Warring States Period Shang Dynasty 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

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  • Angus Forsyth

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