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 an 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.
The 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. 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. 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. Neolithic jade workshops, also known as garbage dumps, have been found in areas where the use of jade was evident and became popular.
Jade dragon pendant from the Warring States period (403 BC 221 BC) National Museum of China (Photo by Dongmaiying). 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. 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. Jade spoons, spatulas and mortars were used to make medicines so that jade would confer its special virtues to medicinal compounds.
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. The coloration of the jade was a factor that was taken into account when deciding what shape the piece of jade would take. 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.