Skip Navigation

Ritual Tube (Cong)

Asian Art

The tube-shaped ritual jade object called a cong first appeared in northeast China in the Neolithic period, circa 4000–2100 B.C. Although the precise ceremonial use of the cong is unknown, writers in the late Zhou dynasty described the cong as a symbol of the Earth, pairing it with the ritual disk called a bi, which was thought to symbolize Heaven. Cong are rare after the Neolithic period, although they were sometimes rediscovered in the Shang and Zhou dynasties and cherished as ancient objects. Unlike many highly decorated cong tubes from the south-central Chinese Liangzhu culture, this cong is very simple in form, with an undecorated surface. The style and the dark, almost black jade associate it with jades from the Longshan culture in China's Shaanxi province dated to approximately 2500-1700 B.C.

MEDIUM Jade (nephrite)
  • Place Made: China
  • DATES late 19th century
    DYNASTY Qing Dynasty
    PERIOD Qing Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 6 1/2 in. (7 x 7 x 16.5 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Elizabeth F. Babbott in memory of Dr. Frank L. Babbott
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Ritual Tube (Cong), late 19th century. Jade (nephrite), 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 6 1/2 in. (7 x 7 x 16.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Elizabeth F. Babbott in memory of Dr. Frank L. Babbott, 71.116.3. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 71.116.3_PS4.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 71.116.3_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.