Monday, November 4, 2013

Jade Burial Suit circa 113 B.C.

One of the earliest experiences I had that let me know I might be a pervert was seeing a jade burial suit at a local museum when I was about 6 or seven years old. I remember being completely fascinated by this object. I had never seen anything like it before, and was amazed at the idea that it was made to fit someone perfectly, and that there was someone inside of it. (Or, at least there was at one time, hundreds of years ago...) 

Here's an excerpt from the book containing the image above (The Arts of China by Michael Sullivan, 1973):

"An extreme instance of the belief in the preserving power of jade was the jade burial-suit, long known from references in early literature, but never seen (except in fragments) until the accidental discovery of the tombs of a Han prince and princess at Man-ch'eng in Hopei in 1968. The corpses of Liu Sheng (died 113 B.C.) and of his wife Tou Wan were completely encased in head-mask, jacket and trousers, each made of over 2,000 thin jade plaques sewn together with gold thread. Each suit, it has been calculated, would have taken an expert jade-smith ten years to make." 

Another jade suit helmet with what looks like a removable face-covering is shown below. For a king named Liu Yen buried in A.D. 90...


  1. Humm, what if the pieces were made into a female bodycasket-like assembly? Now that's inescapable. Fit for a princess (or a royal concubine the Emperor loved so much).

    1. I would love to see that... the whole idea of a hard shell would be amazing. And one inside the other. *swoon*