‘China and Egypt’: Arrival of jade suit – an exhibition highlight

Neues Museum

Yesterday the jade suit that will appear as one of the principal attractions at the upcoming exhibition China and Egypt: Cradles of the World was unpacked and installed at the Neues Museum under the close supervision of couriers from the Xuzhou Museum.

This precious jade suit from the Western Han Dynasty once adorned the mortal remains of a member of the Chu State’s ruling family. It consists of a total of 2,216 pieces of jade, sewn together with silver thread, and each weighing approximately twenty-five kilogram. The custom of wrapping the deceased in suits of this kind arose from the belief that jade protected the body from decay. This is the earliest known jade suit from the Western Han Dynasty, which, uniquely among examples discovered from this period, is complete and includes silver thread.

The suit will be on display at the exhibition from 6 July in conjunction with an Egyptian mummy case and other artefacts in order to illuminate differences and commonalities between Chinese and Egyptian burial cultures.