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 culture considers jade to be a lucky stone. For them, it is known as “The Stone of Heaven”.
Jadeite is so precious that there is a saying that goes: “Gold is valuable, while jade is priceless. Chinese jade refers to the jade mined or carved in China from the Neolithic onward. It is the main hard stone in Chinese sculpture. Although jadeite, with its intense and bright green color, is best known in Europe, for most of Chinese history, jade was presented in a variety of colors and white nephrite with lamb fat was the most praised and appreciated.
Native springs in Henan and along the Yangtze have been exploited since prehistoric times and have been largely exhausted; most of today's Chinese jade is extracted from the northwestern province of Xinjiang. 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, they equated jade with purity and indestructibility). Returning to its meaning, ancient Chinese culture believed that jade represents the cultivated heart and the wise mind.
A jade disc with a hole in the center is called “Bi”, which means “sky”. For years, ufologists have thought that this ancient symbol was related to alien beings. However, the possession of a jade disc is a status symbol of power and wealth. 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.
Neolithic jade workshops, also known as garbage dumps, have been found in areas where the use of jade was evident and became popular. 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.).
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. The coloration of the jade was a factor that was taken into account when deciding what shape the piece of jade would take. 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.
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. Jade spoons, spatulas, and mortars were used to make medicines so that jade would confer its special virtues to medicinal compounds. 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. .