Jade Essay, Research Paper
Basically, I have a great influence by Chinese culture and also I like to discovery many traditional things, so I choice jade for my topic. Jade is not an ordinary stone. Not only it has a mystical background, but also it has deep historical and cultural influence in Chinese society. There are many legends about jade s origin; according to the famous one, China was invaded by the Tartar barbarians, the Imperial Dragon shed tears of sorrow, and these tears petrified into jade. Also, ancient jades were usually carved into many different kinds of Buddha; people often wear different jades to protect themselves or identify their social class. During my researching, I discovered there are many things about jade that I don t even know before.
Jade is a kind of stone with transparent body and lustrous character.
According to Masterworks of Chinese Jade in the National palace museum, there are two types of jade. Mineralogists divide jade into two kinds: nephrite, the commonly seen white, blue, green, yellow, dark green, black jade. Jadeite is slightly different in color by its bright green color; fei-tsui is another name for jadeite to be referred to. (Fu-tsung 1973:74) Ordinarily, jade exists in Southwest and Northwest China; nephrite exists in Sinkiang and jadeite was found in Yunnan. Jade is too hard to be cut by ordinary metals; also it is very difficult to carve into objects. For thousand of years, Chinese ancestor had tried to use very simple tools to make it an extraordinary art piece. The method of carving jade was developed from carving stone. After the use of stone artifacts had become more impractical, the ancients were not willing to destroy them. In order to preserve those memorial stones, they selected jade as material to imitate those stone ax and sickle to become a memento to be worshipped. In ancient Chinese jade were often used for politic, ceremony, and decoration. There are three kinds of jade objects: tallies used in the court, ceremonial jades, and ordinary jade for decoration, for inlaid work and for burial. (Fu-tsung 1973:74) Among the ceremonial jade, the most important were the liu jui and liu ch i . The use of ceremonial jade is mostly related to the emperor and religion. Liu jui- The former was supposed to be held by people in the court as symbols of their authority. (Fu-tsung 1973:74) Liu ch i were ceremonial objects used by the emperor in worshipping Heaven, Earth and the Four Directions (E. W. N. S.) (Fu-tsung 1973:74) However, I found out something interesting about funerary jades. Ancient Chinese believe that putting jade on a dead body can prevent the body to rot. Where did they put it? Funerary jades were used to insert into the nine apertures to prevent body from decay. They believe by doing so, the soul would be immortal. In order to put jade into human s body, they had to carve jade into different kinds of shape to fit in. For example, Han is type of jade that put in the mouth and it is form like a cicada. And others are also forms in different kinds to fit in different place.
In addition to those unique features, jade also has a mystical background. No other stone has played such an important role in religion ritual. It remains a high position in religion rite for thousands of year. From the beginning of China s recorded history the Chinese attitude toward the stone has remained constant: Never worshiped, but always revered. (Richard 1962:57) Chinese believe jade has the power to bring health, luck, and protection. I heard a jade antiquer said jade has an invisible vigor can increase human magnetic field and influence you from a good side. Also, jade is said to possess humane, however people said that a piece of jade worn on the body will protect the wearer from being thrown from a horse or from falling. For this reason, Chinese pregnant women often wear one or more pieces of jade.
After thousands of year, jade has become one of the symbols of China.
In Ming and Qing Dynasty jade has been manufactured more frequently. Many of them appear in decoration form. For instance, rings, necklace, and waistband. According to my Internet reference, the history of jade use has developed as follows: 1. Early Weapons 2. Mythological Tokens 3. Imperial Emblems 4. Ritual Emblems 5. Symbolic Forms 6. Utilitarian Articles 7. Decorative Objects.
Chinese have great influence by jade. Not only because its value, but also its spiritual position. Nowadays, collecting jade has become a business and people s pastime. By doing so, collectors can enjoy its excellence and purity.
Chiang, Fu-tsung. Masterworks of Chinese Jade in the national palace museum
Taipei, Taiwan: National Palace Museum, 1982
Gump, Richard. Stone of Heaven Jade Garden City, New York:
Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1962
No author Imperial Treasures Available: http://www.imperialtreasures.com/jades.htm