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Funerary Tongue Amulet: Cicada

Location

CHINA

Era

Han Dynasty (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.)

Title

Funerary Tongue Amulet: Cicada

Date

2nd-1st c. B.C.E.

Materials

Jade

Dimensions

1 x 3.2 x 5.7 cm

Credits

Gift of Mrs. W. Hugh Owen, inv. 1966.Ed.53

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

Jade has always been highly valued in China for its protective qualities, both in this life and in the hereafter. The Chinese believed that jade had the special power to preserve the body from natural decay after death. In the Han dynasty, the corpse’s nine orifices were plugged with jade. The cicada was placed on the tongue, plaques covered the eyes and plugs filled the nose and ears.

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