Disk (bi 璧) with incised glyph

Artist: Liangzhu culture 良渚 (ca. 3300-ca. 2250 BCE)
Historical period(s)
Late Neolithic period, ca. 3300-2250 BCE
Jade (nephrite)
Diam x D: 24.5 x 1.3 cm (9 5/8 x 1/2 in)
China, Lake Tai region, purportedly found at Anxi, Zhejiang province
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 19: Afterlife: Ancient Chinese Jades
Ceremonial Object, Jade

Ceremonial object: disk (bi)

bird, China, inscription, Late Neolithic period (ca. 5000 - ca. 1700 BCE)

Reportedly excavated in Anki in Chekiang province [1]

To 1917
You Xiaoxi (late 19th-early 20th century), Shanghai, to 1917 [2]

From 1917 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from You Xiaoxi, in New York, in 1917 [3]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [4]


[1] According to Curatorial Remark 2 in the object record.

[2] See Original Miscellaneous List, S.I. 1286, pg. 287, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[3] See note 2.

[4] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
You Xiaoxi (C.L. Freer source) late 19th-early 20th century

Published References
  • J. Keith Wilson, Jingmin Zhang. Jades for Life and Death. .
  • Minao Hayashi. Chugoku kodai no sakegame., reprint: Kokogaku zasshi, vol. 65, no. 2 (1979) pp. 97-118. Tokyo, 1979. pl. 21.
  • Alfred Salmony. Chinese Jade Through the Wei Dynasty. New York, 1963. pl. 7, fig. 2.
  • Julia Murray. Neolithic Chinese Jades in the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 14, no. 11 Hong Kong, November 1983. p. 16.
  • Shuping Deng. Tianming xuanniao, jianger shengshang: guyu huawen suo fanying de gudai xinyang. no. 42 Taipei, 1986. p. 19, fig. 7.
  • Minao Hayashi. Jade of the Liang-chu Culture. no. 360 Tokyo, March 1981. p. 23, fig. 3c.
  • Shuping Deng. Liangzhu yuqi shang de shenmi fuhao. no. 117 Taipei, 1992. p. 32, fig. 7.
  • Wu Hung. Bird Motifs in Eastern Yi Art. vol. 16, no. 10 Hong Kong, October 1985. p. 35.
  • Elizabeth Childs-Johnson. Dragons, Masks, Axes and Blades from Four Newly-documented Jade-producing Cultures of Ancient China. vol. 19, no. 4 Hong Kong, 1988. p. 36, fig. 22.
  • Elizabeth Childs-Johnson, Fang Gu. Yuqi shidai: Meiguo bowuguan cang Zhongguo zaoqi yuqi [The Jade Age: Early Chinese Jades in American Museums]. Beijing, 2009. pp.82-83.
  • New Perspectives on China's Past: Chinese Archaeology in the Twentieth Century. 2 vols., Kansas City and New Haven, 2004. p. 172.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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