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Jade mantis (Western Zhou Dynasty)

Updated: 2014-02-20

Jade mantis (Western Zhou Dynasty)
 

This 7-cm-long mantis of white jade was unearthed in the village of Beizhao, at Tomb No.63 at the Jin site in Western Zhou Dynasty (c.16th century-771 BC), in 1993. It is actually two mantises, with the bigger one on top touching the smaller one below. Some see this as a mother showing maternal love for a child, while others see it as a couple bidding farewell to each other, the female long and graceful, with a plump belly and a wide tail, and the male much shorter and pitiful with its back arching as if it were struggling on the verge of death. The carving is both interesting and lifelike in design.

 

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