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Jade & Jade Carving
Jade & Jade Carving in China
Jade Carving
China Information - China Folk Culture and Art
Jade and Jade Carving

Jade and jade carving

Stones hold a special place in Chinese culture. That is evident from the various strange shapes of artificial rockeries, stones hewn from quarries
that decorate scenic spots, jade war and trinkets for people to appreciate and enjoy.
Chinese stone culture started with people using stones, owning them, then appreciating and becoming connoisseurs.
Primitive, or Stone Ages, could not give a better example of the relationship between primitive man and stone. Of all the easily acquired materials,
stone was the hardest. Hence stones had wide use as tools, hunting weapons and so on. Making stone tools and weapons reflected the scope
and degree of primitive people's understanding of stones. That was limited to stones' hardness and density of mass.
Discovery of jade deepened people's understanding of stones. After using stone tools for many years people gradually classified them into
different types, according to their "beauty". Hardness, mellow, colour, soft feel and pleasant sound, were standards used to gauge the "beauty' of
stones. All found expression in one type of stone --- jade. Once the concept of the "beauty of stone" materialized, it became the aesthetic standard
of stone's beauty. In the ages to follow, people indeed judged the degrees of beauty of all kinds of stones by jade.
Jade began to be used in sorcery and ancestral sacrifice because of its qualities. Gradually, people began to believe that these forces would
multiply when jade was made into wars and ornamental pieces of various shapes. Chinese people believed that jade had supernatural power.
Using jade wares and jade ornaments could resist the intrusion of evil influences and avoid evil apparitions, thus securing safety and

When people likened human virtues to pure jade, they elevated its value. While they admired jade's beauty, they also played up the stone's fine
material qualities. In the Spring and Autumn Period, the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C), and the Qin (221-206 B.C) and Han (206 B.C-220
A.D.), jade pieces were characterized by elaborately beautiful patterns, fluent lines and complicated images. All this was attempted to make jade
pieces beautiful.

There's a Chinese saying: "Jade is no more than a stone before it is chiseled, ground to an ornament." For a long time, the carving of jade articles
has been an intrinsic part of Chinese culture, one reason that Chinese jade is renowned throughout the world. The Chinese people's love and
use of jade date back to ancient times. Flowers, birds, animals, vases, incense burners and human figures are the usual subjects of jade carving,
but the most favorite subject is beautiful women from popular fair tales and legends. The most skilled craftsman can make the best use of the
natural colour and the shape of the raw materials. The best jade sculptures were believed to be those carved in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Chinese jade appears in nature in great variety. The majority of Chinese jade is used to make jade articles and objects, with a very small amount
of the best jade being set aside for jewel manufacture. Jade can now be found in about 100 places in China. Of all the different types of jade,
Nephrite is the traditional favorite of Chinese artisans.


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