Mystery of Chinese Jade
Jade has been considered one of the most precious stones in the Chinese culture and history. There are so many different names that they associate with jade and when speaking of beauty they often incorporate the stone into the description or information. Since the stone has been so important in the history of the culture it has actually been used in all of the major art periods in the country. Jade has been used for items that were to be buried with the dead including a full jade suit for one emperor and decorations that were used in the homes of the people. Many of the items that are used in certain ceremonies continue to be made out of jade.
There are a few different colors of jade that range between white jade and black jade. These colors are all on a green spectrum. At one point during the history of China the white jade was actually more preferred to gold and silver and was worth more money. Some of the more common items that were made out of jade were calligraphy brushes and opium pipes.
There have been a number of beliefs about jade in the Chinese culture. Some of these have included that the stone is representative of virtue, beauty, protection, immortality, luck, friendship, and health.
The Rich History of Chinese Jade
The first recordings of jade being mined were as early as 6000 BC. The people of this time period often buried their dead with some type of jade object. This continued to happen for many years and in some cultures still happens today. Many of the utilitarian and ceremonial objects of the time were created out of jade.
The earliest jade carvings were made during the Neolithic time period between 3000 and 1500 BC. These carvings are quite simple and have few ornaments. The stone that was used during this time period was soft jade or nephrite that was from Ningshao area or Liaoning province. This source has since been depleted and no longer produces jade.
Between the 1700's and 1100's the rule of China was under the Shang dynasty. Then between 1111-255 BC under the rule of the Zhou dynasty. Between 206 BC and 200 AD during the Han dynasty a lot more ornamental features were added to the art pieces that used the stone. Carvings become more ornamentally decorated. During the rule of these dynasties jade was mined from the Khotan region of Xinijing. The stone can actually be found as small pebbles or large boulders in some cases. Many of today's stones still come from mining done in this area.
In later periods there was more of an increase in the intricacy of the carvings and the details were more vivid. The most common decorations were animal prints as these were the popular images of the time. The craftsmen were able to become more technical during this time making these things popular.
What is Special about Chinese Jade
There are many things to consider when you are looking to buy Chinese jade. One thing to remember is that in some circumstances Chinese jade refers to the antique carvings that were made out of jade in China between 3000-1500 BC. These carvings are quite rare and something that only a serious collector would be looking into because of the high price tag that is associated with them. These are precious and valuable because they are so rare and so old. The carvings are all done by hand as was the custom of the time and they are representative of virtue.
When you are looking into buying Chinese jade that is considered to be antique jade you will find it frustrating as there are a number of places that try to pass off other stones or other products as well. When jade is used in ceremonial items it could be used during any of the six rituals and in any of the six ritual sites.
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