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Jade carvings unearthed from the tomb of a Shang dynasty royal concubine

Jade carvings of the Shang-Zhou period feature a much better workmanship A jade phoenix unearthed from the tomb of Fu Hao at Anyang, Henan Province. Fu Hao was a concubine of a Shang Dynasty kings than Liangzhu jade artifacts. Those excavated from the tomb of a Shang Dynasty royal concubine testify to the truth of this assertion.

The  women,  Fu Hao,  was a concubine of King Wuding of Shang Dynasty, and her tomb in Anyang, Henan Province, was discovered in 1976 by accident. The tomb is in fact a part of the “Yin Ruins” – ruins of the capital city for the Shang Dynasty in its late period some 3,000 years ago.

Of the 1,600 relics unearthed from the tomb, 755 are jade artifacts, including two dozen exquisitely designed animal and bird figures. Let’s see just a few: two hares about to jump, their short tails upward and their long ears against the backs; a tiger with its mouth wide open; an elephant cub with its trunk swaying; and those monkeys that look so cute. The tomb is in fact a zoo of jade animals – real things like elephants, bears, monkeys, rabbits, horses, cattle, sheep, cranes, vultures, parrots, frogs and fish, as well as legendary dragons and phoenixes. There are seven small dragons coiled like alphabet C, inspiring scholars to link them to a large jade dragon of the prehistory Hongshan culture in their study of the continuity and consistency of the Chinese culture.

Two dozen parrots, in fact relieves carved on flat jade pieces, were excavated from the tomb. Two of them share a long tail, their heads arranged in symmetrical order and one side of the tail sharpened like a sword – a perfect combination of artistic value and practical use.

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