Jade is the most prized in modern Chinese culture. Reportedly, the philosopher Confucius expressed this fascination by making jade a metaphor for virtue, goodness, wisdom, justice, civility, music, sincerity, truth, Heaven and Earth. Chinese jade, any of the carved jade objects produced in China since the Neolithic (c. Historically, the Chinese have considered carved jade objects to be inherently valuable and, metaphorically, equated jade with purity and indestructibility).
What are the virtues that Chinese jade represents? The best jade carving of the Qing Dynasty is often attributed to the reign of Qianlong, but carved jade is difficult to date, and since 1950 some high-quality pieces of the Qianlong style have been manufactured at the Beijing Craft Research Institute. Also present at this time, in the Liangzhu culture and, in the province of Shandong, in the Longshan culture, are the Gui and Zhang ceremonial knives and axes, as well as an increasing variety of pendants, necklaces and ornamental jade bracelets (often in the shape of an animal), together with the important decorative appearance of masks; all of these forms link Neolithic jades with those of the later Shang period. Since jade was considered rare and tiring to work with, the pieces of jade were minimally changed and the scrap pieces were reused in some way. The coloration of the jade was a factor that was taken into account when deciding what shape the piece of jade would take.
Jade dragon pendant from the Warring States period (403 BC 221 BC) National Museum of China (Photo by Dongmaiying). Camel caravans with jade traveled two thousand miles, over the course of as many years, bringing the jade to Chinese artisans. Jade spoons, spatulas and mortars were used to make medicines so that jade would confer its special virtues to medicinal compounds. Neolithic jade workshops, also known as garbage dumps, have been found in areas where the use of jade was evident and became popular.
Later, in the highly developed Han Dynasty (202 BC). C., 220 AD), emperors and nobles wore jade clothing after their departure, which consisted of jade tablets sewn with gold, silver or copper threads, depending on their hierarchies. During the Neolithic period, the main known sources of nephrite jade in China for utilitarian and ceremonial jade objects were the now exhausted deposits in the Ningshao area, in the Yangtze River Delta (Liangzhu culture), between 3400-2250 BC. C.) and in an area of Liaoning Province, in Inner Mongolia (Hongshan culture, between 4700 and 2200 BC).
C.). Jade became one of the favorite materials for making Chinese writing materials, such as calligraphy brush holders and the mouthpieces of some opium pipes, due to the belief that breathing through jade would provide longevity to smokers who used that pipe. In addition to the seal, the jade belt (in Chinese Yu Dai) had been an important representative of a person's social status from the Sui Dynasty (581-61) to the Ming Dynasty (1368-164), when only emperors and highest-ranking officials could wear jade belts. As the technique of jade carving had changed little over the interval, it is difficult to distinguish them from authentic archaic jades, except for a somewhat playful elegance and a tendency to combine shapes and decorations that are not found together in old pieces.
From the kingdom of Khotan, on the southern stretch of the Silk Road, tributes were paid annually to the Chinese imperial court, which expert artisans transformed there into art objects, since jade was considered more valuable than gold or silver, and white more valuable than green.