Locust, Western Zhou dynasty, 10th–9th century BC. Jade, height 4 cm, width 2,6 cm. National Gallery of Prague, Vp 2441.
Jade was used in ancient China to make not only small figurines, pendants and ornaments but, in the first place, special ritual objects such as the circular bi disk and the elongated cong tube. The magic power of jade was moreover often combined with the symbolic meaning of a certain motif or form. For example, jade plugs, which were put into the mouth of the dead, are often shaped as a locust – symbol of the endless cycle of transformation.