Although the exact purposes of these rare jade ornaments are not known, it has been suggested that they might have been used as handles or even as the upper half of hairpins. There are several excavated examples to date, some from the Shijiahe Culture sites in Hubei, others in Shang tombs, such as the one in the tomb of Lady Fuhao (fig.1). It is believed that these pieces are dated to the late Neolithic period, so the Fuhao example would have been considered an antique object even during the Shang Dynasty. For two other examples excavated in the hoard of Shaanxi Shenmu Shimao, see An Appraisal of the National Treasures in the Shaanxi History Museum, Xian, 2006, no. 3, p. 24.
Other examples in museum collections include one in the British Museum, illustrated by Rawson and Michaelson in Chinese Jade, British Museum, London, 1995, 11:2, p. 202; one in the Winthrop Collection, illustrated by Loehr and Huber in Ancient Chinese Jades, Harvard University, Massachusetts, 1975, no. 329, p. 220; and one in the Sackler Collection, J 722, 1249.