If you thought today’s parties were wild, just wait ’til you hear how turnt the men and women of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE to 220 CE) got. During multiple excavations from 1995 to 2011, scientists dug up ancient artifacts belonging to the crème de la crème of Chinese society during that time. Featured in the pile of decorated pots and mountains of fancy loofahs were items a little more scandalous: bronze dildos and jade butt plugs. Now, hold up a second. Who knew the Han Dynasty elite got down and dirty like this?
Apparently, though these phallic works of art were an unusual find, the use of these monstrous strap-ons was a pretty common occurrence in the circle of Chinese royalty. Members of the Han Dynasty introduced the use of these toys as a way to increase sexual pleasure before you even considered stepping foot in your first sex shop.
Exhibition Co-Curator Fan Zhang of the Yizheng Musem said, They were all definitely made for use, and we can speculate based on their various bases how they were worn. They’re all bespoke, and the ones we have here might have been laced into place with leather or silk thongs, though it’s not clear if they were designed for men or women – they’re not heavy at all – though the phallus without the ring form was likely for a man since it was found in a king’s tomb. The butt plugs were utilized in a more spiritual fashion, as jade is considered a precious stone in Chinese culture.
So instead of sexual pleasure purposes, the jade butt plug was inserted into the body post-mortem to keep the spirit of the dead intact and, essentially, to keep anything from… leaking out. Sorry for that vivid imagery, folks. Carry on.
“The jade plugs are used to seal the body and keep in vital essences that can leak out during life and death,” Zhang told IFLScience. “Basically, it is to maintain the chi. The most important orifice was the mouth, and we have a beautiful example of a mouth seal in the shape of a cicada in the exhibition.” If you’re interested in checking out (not using, ’cause that’s weird) the over 2000-year-old artifacts, you’re in luck. “Tomb Treasures” will take the items out of China and over to San Francisco at the Asian Art Museum from February 17 to May 28, for all the world to see. Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.
The article was original published at Elite Daily.