Ritual Disk (bi)

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Object Name: 
Ritual Disk (bi)
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
51.6.548
Dimensions: 
Overall Diam (max): 16.4 cm, Th: 0.5 cm; Perforation Diam: 6.3 cm
Location: 
On Display
Date: 
206 BC-220 AD
Web Description: 
In ancient China, decorated ritual disks known as bi were made of jade and other materials. Archeologists have unearthed many glass bi in Hunan and other provinces. A document of the Warring States Period includes this reference: “to pay tribute to heaven with dark green bi.” This indicates that bi were ceremonial objects, but archeologists have determined that they were used mainly as decorations to be buried with the dead. Earlier bi are small and thin, while later disks are large and thick. The size of a bi indicated the social status of a tomb’s occupant. Bi and other excavated glass objects provide solid evidence of glassmaking in China from the fifth century B.C. onward.
Department: 
Provenance: 
Musso, F. P., Source
1951-04-03
Category: 
Color: 
Technique: 
Material: 
Primary Description: 
Opaque green glass; cut from flat glass. Carved on each face with lines forming a narrow border about 0.4 cm wide at both rim and perforation edge; otherwise both faces entirely covered with linear-cut cloud (?) spirals.
Exhibition of East Asiatic Glass
Venue(s)
Toledo Museum of Art 1948-10-03 through 1948-10-31
Escort Guide to the Galleries (2013) illustrated, p. 25; BIB# 134015
Escort Guide to the Galleries [V4/2013] (2013) illustrated, p. 25; BIB# 134856
Tesori del Vetro al Corning Museum of Glass (2005-12) illustrated, p. 20, fig. 4;
Plastik sanatlarda cam malzemenin uygulanisi (2003) illustrated, p. 20, fig. 2.6; BIB# 120381
Chemical Analyses of Early Glasses (Volume 1) (1999) pp. 150, 250; BIB# 61154
A Short History of Glass (1990 edition) (1990) illustrated, pp. 34-35, #28; BIB# 33211
A Short History of Glass (1980 edition) (1980) illustrated, p. 35, #27; BIB# 21161
Le Verre dans Tous ses Reflets (1973-06) pp. 36-41, ill. p. 36, left;