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Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology
of Eurasia

43 (3) 2015




“Life Stones” from the Noyon Uul Burials (Based on Findings of the 2006–2012 Field Seasons)

E. S. Bogdanov.

Excavations of Xiongnu elite burials, conducted in 2006–2012 by the Russian-Mongolian expedition in the Noyon Uul Mountains, Northern Mongolia, revealed numerous jade artifacts. Their classifi cation is provided, and their possible cultural meaning is discussed. The Chanyus apparently received them from the Han imperial court by way of gift or tribute. Like the Chinese, the Xiongnu believed in the magic and vital force of jade, and this may account for its abundance in burials. The amount and quality of jade indicated the owner’s high social status. Jade artifacts were parts of neck-adornments worn by members of the Xiongnu elite, and they might have functioned as amulets.Finds from Ballod’s mound suggest that they may have been parts of jade garments, known as “armors”.

Keywords: Jade, Xiongnu, Han epoch, Mongolia, Noyon Uul burials.