Raw Material Procurement and Production Technologies of Turquoise and Nephrite Jade in Prehistoric China

Author(s): Chung Tang; Maya H. Tang

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Two Approaches to Archaeological Jades: Source Characterization and Social Valuation" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

As gold is for the West, jade has been one of the finest symbolic vehicles in the East since prehistory. In recent years, a large amount of nephrite accessories have been excavated from early Neolithic-Bronze Age archaeological sites in Northeast China, Cis-Baikal, and the Russian Far East, posing important questions regarding possible long-distance exchanges and movements of raw materials, products, and production technologies in Northeast Asia. On the other hand, new archaeological evidence indicates that turquoise came to be regarded as a precious stone independently in the prehistoric communities of the Yellow River basin in Central China since 9,000–8,000 BP. The eastern and central regions of China seemingly had a preference for nephrite jade and turquoise, respectively. Through analyzing geological provenance, production technologies, in situ archaeological contexts, sociocultural contexts, and temporal and spatial distributions of excavated accessories and related artifacts, we aim to better understand the long-distance exchanges and movement of semi-precious stones in early Neolithic to Bronze Age China. Our research will strengthen the study of early history of symbolism and long-distance human interactions in ancient China. This research is supported by the General Research Fund of the Research Grants Council Project No. CUHK14600118.

Cite this Record

Raw Material Procurement and Production Technologies of Turquoise and Nephrite Jade in Prehistoric China. Chung Tang, Maya H. Tang. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450739)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 70.4; min lat: 17.141 ; max long: 146.514; max lat: 53.956 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23302