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Collection

An image of Tongue amulet of a cicada by

China

Title
Tongue amulet of a cicada
Place of origin
China
Period
Han dynasty 206 BCE - 220 CE → China
Media category
Jade
Materials used
greyish-white jade with stains of red pigment
Dimensions

4.4 x 1.8 x 0.8 cm

Credit
Gift of Mary and Henry Fung 2007
Accession number
360.2007
Location
Lower Asian gallery
Further information

Thought to prevent the entry of evil or destructive influences, jades have also served an important burial function. Particularly during the Han dynasty, jades in various forms were placed in the mouth, hands, ears, nostrils and other orifices of the deceased. Tongue amulets were typically made in the shape of a cicada, perhaps because the life cycle of the cicada was seen as symbolic of renewed life. This tongue amulet is however carved in a rare abstract form, only its shape is reminiscent of a cicada.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, December 2007.

Exhibition history (1)

Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–05 Sep 2015