Jade Ear Ornaments with Human-Animal Motif from Prehistoric Taiwan — Design, Technology and Symbolism

Author(s): Tsuimei Huang

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.

Jade ear ornaments with human-animal motif, dating to 2800-2300 BP, have been the most distinctive jewelry from prehistoric Taiwan. Since the first ear ornament of this kind became known in 1982, a total of 41 pieces of such items have been unearthed from 9 archaeological sites. These objects are comparable in composition, i.e. an animal image of a boar or a deer on top of the heads of a group of two frontal human figures placed side by side. These two groups of ear ornaments, those consisting of a boar image and of a deer image, can be differentiated according to the size relationship between the human image and associated animal figures in the composition, carving techniques, and geographic distribution that also suggest the evolution of these artifacts in time and space. It is believed that these human-animal images were representations of the triumphant return of brave tribal hunters with their prey; these objects not only are faithful records of a long-standing hunting tradition but also serve as the visual evidence for studying the production, circulation and symbolism of jade ear ornaments in prehistoric Taiwan.

Cite this Record

Jade Ear Ornaments with Human-Animal Motif from Prehistoric Taiwan — Design, Technology and Symbolism. Tsuimei Huang. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450741)


Geographic Keywords
Asia: East Asia

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22906