Asian Art

Ritual Disk (Bi)

3rd–2nd millennium b.c.e.

Jade (nephrite)

Outer Diameter: 8 1/4 in. (21 cm) Inner Diameter: 1 3/4 in. (4.5 cm)
Gift of J. Watson Webb, B.A. 1907, and Electra Havemeyer Webb
1940.160
Found in some of China’s earliest cultures and often placed on or alongside the deceased during burials, circular disks, or bi, originally symbolized the sky revolving around a central axis, referring to the belief that the heavens were divine. Over time, however, such disks became more decorative than symbolic in function.
Culture: 
Chinese
Period: 
Neolithic, Liangzhu Culture (ca.3200–2200 B.C.E)
Classification: 
Ritual Objects
Geography: 
China
Status: 
On view
Bibliography: 

George J. Lee, Selected Far Eastern Art in the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1970), 126, no. 242, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.