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Burial accessory in the shape of cicada

Burial accessory in the shape of a cicada


In ancient China cicadas were symbols of re-birth because of their unusual life cycles.
Young cicadas spend many years underground as larvae before they crawl out and shed their skins, emerging as winged adults.

The dead were often buried with small objects in the shape of cicadas on their tongues in the hope that they would be re-born. The wealthiest people were buried with jade cicadas. These are glass versions which were cheaper to make.

The details of the design was cut by placing the glass against a fast spinning wheel covered with abrasive sand. Black pigment has been applied to the body of the cicada for extra decoration.

Glass, wheel cut
Width: 3.0 cm, length: 5.6 cm, depth: 0.9 cm

Chinese Description:

琀蝉 中国,大约公元100-300年,东汉晚期(公元25-220年)或西魏(公元265-316年) 蝉的生命周期与众不同,在古代中国被视为重生的象征。幼蝉在地下蛰伏数载,才爬出地面蜕变成一只长有翅膀的成虫。 死者下葬时,多在舌头放置一只蝉形饰物,祈求得以再生。 玻璃,轮刻

Creator: Unknown

Date: About 100-300 A.D.

Copyright: Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives

Object ID:N4808

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