Comma-shaped Jade

곱은 옥 (曲玉)

400s CE
Overall: 7.3 x 3.9 x 2.5 cm (2 7/8 x 1 9/16 x 1 in.)
Location: 236 Korean
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

Did You Know?

This unique shaped jade was used as a pendant to decorate necklaces, earrings, and crowns during the Three Kingdoms period.


Jade is one of the hardest stones and requires an intensive, arduous process of abrasion—cutting, chiseling, grinding, and polishing—to achieve the desired shape. A grindstone and a slurry of grit and water shape the jade into the desired form, and then a cloth dampened and rubbed with finer grit may have been used to give the jade the smooth surface. For the Silla kingdom (57 BC–985), in particular, comma-shaped jades served as an essential item for the burials of the ruling class and were luxurious accessories to decorate golden crowns. Their comma shape is thought to represent embryonic forms, symbolizing life, particularly rebirth in the afterlife.
Comma-shaped Jade

Comma-shaped Jade

400s CE

Korea, Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE–668 CE)

Visually Similar Artworks

ArtLens App

Let the ArtLens App be your guide, featuring an interactive map, every artwork on view, and AR scanning. Keep track of your favorite artworks. Take a guided tour, or create your own. 

Download the App

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.