I recently visited the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco to check out some Han Dynasty relics that were recently excavated — including a jade coffin, rare bronze bells, elaborate crafts and much more.
Believed to be the largest jade coffin found to date, this coffin was reconstructed from about 1,500 jade plaques of various shapes (square, rectangular, triangular, diamond). The unadorned rectangular holes at the lower register of the coffin walls may have been created as gateways for the king’s soul.
Han royal family members were often interred in custom-tailored suits made of jade plaques to protect their bodies in the afterlife. Depending on the body size, a complete suit could comprise up to 2,500 jade pieces in rectangular, triangular, round, half-moon and fan shapes.