Exhibition on prehistoric jade in Taiwan

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Exhibition on Prehistoric Jade in Taiwan. Source: Taiwan Today 20150703

There is an exhibition of prehistoric jade in Taipei city, which runs until October 31. Jade from Taiwan was quite far-flung in prehistoric times, reaching across waters in the Philippines and Vietnam as far back as 5,000 years ago.

Prehistoric jade exhibition opens in Taipei [Link no longer active]
Taiwan Today, 03 July 2015

A prehistoric jade exhibition kicked off July 1 at Taiwan Power Co.’s main hall in Taipei City, highlighting the rich cultural diversity of Taiwan.

Jointly organized by Taitung County-based National Museum of Prehistory and Taipower, “Lightening National Treausres—Prehistoric Taiwan Jade” comprises 55 replicas, including five of priceless NMP-permanent collection items. The bracelet, two brooches, earrings and necklace are confirmed Neolithic Peinan cultural relics and listed as national treasures since 2012 by the Ministry of Culture.

NMP curator Chang Shan-nan said it is not every day that items representing Taiwan’s prehistoric heritage go on display. “I strongly recommend the public takes advantage of this special opportunity to learn more about a lesser-known aspect of Taiwan’s past.”

Wednesday Rojak #13

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No, I haven’t forgotten about our weekly salad mix of Southeast Asia – it’s just been a quiet two weeks with only these two stories to offer:

  • Greg Laden, blogging about peer-reviewed research, posts something on the recent PNAS article about Taiwanese nephrite (jade) showing up all over ancient Southeast Asia. Check out the map to get an idea of the distribution.
  • Kunta Yuni reflects on the recent furore over Malaysia stealing Indonesia’s cultural heritage by transposing the argument to food.

In this series of weekly rojaks (published on Wednesdays) I’ll feature other sites in the blogosphere that are of related to archaeology in Southeast Asia. Got a recommendation for the next Wednesday rojak? Email me!

Related Books:
Burnished Beauty. The Art of Stone in Early Southeast Asia by C. J. Frape
Early History (The Encyclopedia of Malaysia) by Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abdul Rahman (Ed)
Ancient History (The Indonesian Heritage Series) by Indonesian Heritage

Wandering craftsmen behind jade working?


20 November 2007 (National Geographic News) – National Geographic’s story on the chemical tracing of jade artefacts from Southeast Asia. It’s interesting to note that while the jade came mainly from a single source, they were worked outside of Taiwan. And despite their wide dispersal to Philippines, Vietnam and to a large part of Southeast Asia they were worked into two distinct styles, implying some sort of specialised tradition.

Jade Earrings Reveal Ancient S.E. Asian Trade Route
by Carolyn Barry

Jade jewelry found near ancient burial sites across Southeast Asia has revealed one of the largest marine trading networks of prehistoric times, a new study says.

Mineral analysis shows that most of nearly 150 sampled artifacts dated as far back as 3000 B.C. can be traced back to a single site in Taiwan (see map), about 190 miles (120 kilometers) off the coast of mainland China.

This indicates that the small island supplied much of Southeast Asia with a unique variety of the semiprecious stone via a 1,800-mile (3,000-kilometer) trade route around the South China Sea.

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Jade analysis reveals ancient Southeast Asian network

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20 November 2007 (ABC News in Science, Reuters) – A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals the existence of an extensive interaction network involving Taiwanese jade (nephrite) as far back as 5,000 years ago. The jade artefacts turn up in Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines (where it is known locally as lingling-o). Using a newly-developed process to analyse the jade, the study found that 116 out of the 144 artefacts came from the same source in Taiwan. The predominant source of jade in Taiwan, coupled with the distribution of the jade artefacts throughout Southeast Asia and their relative uniformity of the artefact types, leads to the conclusion that there must have been an extensive degree of interaction between different Southeast Asian populations, even across the sea. What’s left now is to uncover the technique used to create the jade artefacts. Experimental archaeology, anyone?

ABC News in Science / PNAS 20 nov 2007

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