Comma-shaped Jade

Comma-shaped Jade

곱은 옥 (曲玉)

AD 400s


Overall: 7.3 x 3.9 x 2.5 cm (2 7/8 x 1 9/16 x 1 in.)

Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1917.1056



Interpretation of Materiality: Gold (Korean art rotation)

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.

See also
Korean Art
Korean Art
Type of artwork: 

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