An image of Tongue amulet of a cicada

Unknown Artist

Tongue amulet of a cicada

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.

Place of origin
China
Period
China: Han dynasty 206 BCE–220 CE
Media
Jade
Medium
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