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Jade Phoenix from the Tomb of Fuhao



Shang Dynasty Height: 13.6cm Thickness: 0.7cm

In 1976, a jade phoenix was unearthed from the tomb of Fuhao in the ruins of the Yin Dynasty. It is the earliest jade phoenix found so far and also the most exquisite piece of all jade ornaments from the tomb. Legend has it that Yin Qi was the descendent of the phoenix, because his mother Jian Di got pregnant with him after eating phoenix eggs. So people of the Shang Dynasty all considered themselves the offspring of the phoenix.

The jade phoenix is 13.6 cm long and 0.7 cm thick. It's yellowish-brown, beautiful and delicate. The jade material is glittering and translucent. Wearing a crown, the phoenix has round eyes and a sharp beak. Its whole body is in a "C" shape, with its head turning back, short wings hanging down and the long tail branching off. In the waist, there's a raised button with a hole, presumably for pulling a thread for hanging. The jade piece outlines the image of a phoenix with precision, with a focus on the head and tail. There are few carved lines in the body. The whole sculpture has graceful lines, brimming over with vitality. It may be the image of a legendary animal, but it's endearing and cute.

The jade phoenix is a rare treasure of jade pieces of the Shang Dynasty, also the representative work of early phoenix pieces. It bears great resemblance to the character of phoenix in the oracle inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty, serving as a precious material for the research of phoenix worship in the Shang Dynasty.

Editor: MetalAllen