The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of February 25, 2024

Comma-shaped Jade

Comma-shaped Jade

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

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.
  • ?-1917
    (Yamanaka and Company, New York, NY, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Golden Splendors: the Royal Tomb of Silla Hwangnamdaechong [황남대총: 황금의나라신라의왕릉]. Seoul: National Museum of Korea, 2010.
    Kim, Yang-dong. “ A cultural examination of the origin and symbol of comma-shaped jades of ancient Korea [고대한국곡옥의기원과상징에대한문화사적검토].” Silla sahakbo 25 (2012): 401-436.
    Lee, So-young, and Denise Patry Leidy. Silla: Korea's Golden Kingdom. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013.
    Nelson, Sarah. Gyeongju: The Capital of Golden Silla. Routledge, 2019.
  • The Other Side of the Story - Korean Gallery 236 Rotation. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (October 27, 2020-April 25, 2021).
    Interpretation of Materiality: Gold (Korean art rotation). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (April 29-October 24, 2021).
  • {{cite web|title=Comma-shaped Jade|url=false|author=|year=400s CE|access-date=25 February 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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