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Jade Carving and Jade Ware

There is a well-known saying in the Three Character Classic: “If jade is not polished, it will not become a great object. If one does not learn, they will not know.” This indicates that humans and jade are spiritually connected, and both must be “processed”, otherwise they will not become great objects. In daily life, we often describe a person as having great abilities and insight, to indicate their ability, breadth of mind, measurement, and broad personality. During the Spring and Autumn period, Guan Zi and Confucius said that “jade virtue” was widely known. The gentleman compared jade with virtue, indicating that people should pursue the way of “becoming useful” like jade. According to Guan Zhong’s The Small Basket, “Guan Zhong is the sage of the world, and also a great instrument.” According to the Records of the Three Kingdoms Shu Shu Biography of Zhuge Liang, “the bright instrument can govern, the restraint can govern, and the Xiao is equal to the inferior.” It can be seen that the human instrument, like the jade instrument, is the highest realm pursued by ancient Chinese scholars.


Jade artifacts have undergone corresponding changes in different eras, with different characteristics in Han, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. It is worth mentioning the emergence of “Qianlong Crafts”. From 1755 to 1760, after Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty quelled the Zhungeer Rebellion, the internal transportation of Hotan Jade was opened, which was of great significance for the manufacture of Chinese court jade. Since then, Hotan Jade in Xinjiang has also entered a heyday from mining, transportation to production. The Hotan Jade created in this period has many finished products, ranging from furnace bottles, kettle tripods, practical jade plates, jade bowls, as well as large-scale decorations such as Dayu’s flood control mountain, Huichun Jiulao mountain. The craftsmanship of this period, with exquisite materials and exquisite workmanship, not only inherited ancient traditions but also demonstrated the royal style of the court. It can be said that “there were no ancients before and no newcomers after”, and deeply influenced the production of jade during the Republic of China and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China.


The ancients said that great things come of age late. To become a talent, it is not a one-time achievement. To become a jade, it also requires the accumulation of time. The process of jade “becoming a tool” is not only a form of refinement and refinement of craftsmanship, but also requires jade carving workers to have a calm and stable mentality in order to achieve it. This is consistent with the requirements of jade ethics in Chinese jade culture. The jade culture in China is the foundation of Chinese culture and cannot be “cut off”. To become a jade, one must abandon the mentality of seeking quick success and instant benefits. The way to become a jade requires the persistent and diligent efforts of generations of jade carving workers, as well as the correct guidance from the industry to cherish the noble heritage in our hands.

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