Language Of Adornment

Myrna Myers

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Chinese Ornaments of Jade, Crystal, Amber and Glass from the Neolithic Period to the Qing Dynasty

From the very earliest manifestations of civilization in China in the late Neolithic period, a strictly organized political and social hierarchy was in place. Within such a society, the position of individuals was defined through social codes and regulations, both written and unwritten. Chinese civilization thus provides an excellent opportunity to examine how personal ornaments functioned as symbols that identified social and cultural status through the materials used and the decorative motifs chosen. The decoration is, in fact, a language to be seen, read, and interpreted.


Filippo Salviati, Ph.D., received doctoral degrees in Chinese art and archeology, specializing in archaic jades, from both the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London and the University of Rome, La Sapienza. He is currently a lecturer in East Asian Art at the University of Rome, La Sapienza.

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