Cong jade, 琮 in simplified Chinese, is usually manufactured as a squared tube with a top-to-bottom hollow cylinder
in the middle. From numerous excavated cases, Cong jades differ in size, height, color, and decorative patterns.
Some are tall even with twelve levels or short, and some are thin or thick. It is said that some Cong jades, for
instance which are dated to be made in prehistoric times, are simple without complex engravings, whereas animalmask,
cloud-mask, or other various patterns became increasingly prevalent later.
When Zhouli (Rites of Zhou), the classical text for ritual performance in the Zhou dynasty, introduces Cong, it
is considered as a sacrificial object to Earth. However, one might say, it is hard to find corresponding evidences of
such sacrificial service in later excavations. In addition to originally sacrificial function, Cong could also be used as
ceremonial objects during various sorts of rituals.
The Cong piece the Lizzadro Museum presents is typical Cong fashion, which is a hollow tube in the middle and
framed by four rectangular corners on the outside. As a whole, its visual effects balance both the circle inside and
the rectangle outside. The animal masks repeatedly carved on the exterior rectangles are similar in every corner.
On the surface of the cylinder are cloud-mask patterns that we can easily detect. It is also noteworthy that the color
of this middle-size cylinder is dark umber.