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Chinese Jade

Chinese Jade Articles
A follow-up story of the famous Chinese jade 'He Shi Bi '( Mr. He and His Jade) happened in Warring States Period and then produced a popular Chinese idiom '完璧归赵'(Wan Bi Gui Zhao in Chinese Pinyin and means thing or jade returned intact to the proper owner ). It saw the history of jade as long as the Chinese civilization. China abounds widely in jade and has exploited jade for a long time. Based on rich raw materials, China has created a splendid jade carving culture.

 

The jade stone has been revered in China since Neolithic times. Archaeologists have found jade objects from the early Neolithic period (about 5000 BC), represented by the Hemudu culture in Zhejian Province, and from the middle and late Neolithic period, represented by the Longshan culture along the Yellow River.

 

Jade (Yu in Chinese pinyin) was defined as beautiful stones in Shuo Wen Jie Zi, the first Chinese dictionary. The pure white form is the most highly valued, but the stone varies in translucency and color to include many shades of green, brown and black. To the Chinese, Jade is considered as a symbol of dignity, a gift of ceremony and a mascot of blessing, fortune and longevity; its physical properties have become metaphors for the Confucian ideal of the junzi, the noble or superior man. Jade culture is very rich in China. Chinese people love the culture, meaning and humanity of jade more than the beauty of jade. A Chinese dictionary of the second century AD defines the character of yu (jade) in these terms:
Yu is the fairest of stones.
It is endowed with five virtues.
Charity is its luster, bright yet warm;
Rectitude is its translucency, revealing the color and markings within;
Wisdom is its pure and penetrating note when struck.
It is courage, for it can be broken but does not bend;
Equity is its sharp edges which injure none.

 

Jade was also empowered with magical and life-giving properties; Taoist alchemists, hoping to become immortal, ate an elixir of powdered jade. Jade was a guardian against disease and evil spirits; plugs of jade were placed over the orifices of a corpse to prevent the life force from escaping. Opulent jade suits, clothing meant to prevent decomposition, have been found in Han tombs-examples can be seen in the Nanjing Museum and in the Anhui Provincial Museum in Hefei. Let us take a overview of Chinese jade culture:
Firstly, jade stands for beauty, grace and purity, its counterpart - the Chinese character Yu has been used in many Chinese idioms, phrases and person names to denote beautiful things or people, such as Yu Jie Bing Qing (pure and noble), Ting Ting Yu Li (fair, slim and graceful) and Yu Niang (beautiful girl).
The Chinese saying "Gold has a value; jade is invaluable." "人不磨不成才,玉不琢不成器"(Man must be chastened into a talent just like a jade must be polished into an art article) tell that jade bears with meaning of perfection, constancy.
Jade is not only invaluable, but also the symbol of power and nobility in the ancient time. Ancient Chinese emperor's stamps all are made of rare jade and called Yu Xi (jade stamp).
Jade is always associated with happiness, health and wealth in Chinese culture. It is believed to bring luck to life. As early as the 16th century, Jade was believed to calm down nerve and keep consciousness and have healing qualities for the human stomach and kidneys.

 

It is interesting to note that the Supreme Deity of Taoism has the name, Yuhuang Dadi (the Jade Emperor). So that jade articles are considered to be gifted the power of deity and often used to against evil ghost and avoid bad luck in China. Moreover, jade was also mysterious to the Chinese in the ancient time so jade wares were popular as sacrificial vessels and were often buried with the dead in order to preserve the body of the dead.

 

Jade was made into artwork, sacrificial vessel, tools, ornaments, utensils and many other items. There were ancient music instruments made out of jade, such as jade flute, yuxiao (a vertical jade flute) and jade chime. We have only touched the surface of it. There are even more about Chinese jade culture. In conclusion, jade symbolizes beauty, nobility, perfection, constancy, power, and immortality in Chinese culture as Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC) said there are 11 De (virtue) in jade.
'The wise have likened jade to virtue. For them, its polish and brilliancy represent the whole of purity;
its perfect compactness and extreme hardness represent the sureness of intelligence;
its angles, which do not cut, although they seem sharp, represent justice;
the pure and prolonged sound, which it gives forth when one strikes it, represents music. Its color represents loyalty;
its interior flaws, always showing themselves through the transparency, call to mind sincerity;
its iridescent brightness represents heaven;
its admirable substance, born of mountain and of water, represents the earth.
Used alone without ornamentation it represents chastity.
The price that the entire world attaches to it represents the truth.
To support these comparisons, the Book of Verse says: "When I think of a wise man, his merits appear to be like jade."'
Now China is leading country in world Jade produce. China has a fantastic variety of jades includes Ancient Jade, Hetian Jade (in Xinjiang), Jiuquan Jade (in Gansu), Lantian Jade (in Shanxi), Dushan Jade & Mi Jade (in Henan), Xiuyan Jade (in Liaoning) and so on. Among them, Hetian Jade (in Xinjiang) and Xiuyan Jade (in Liaoning) are the most famous in China.

 

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