Stone - jade - culture

Hongshan Culture - Jade God

Throughout the ages, the word "玉" is a beautiful and noble word in people's minds. People use jade characters to form countless words to express their favorite things, such as jade, jade, jade, jade, etc., and describe death for justice as "nearly jade, not tiled" . In today's daily life, jade articles or wearing, or furnishings, are just ordinary zh decorations. The importance of jade in the history of Chinese civilization is not well known.

The jade culture stretches for 7000 years, and its charm has not diminished, and its vitality has become more and more vigorous. It cannot be said that it is a miracle in the history of world civilization. The profound influence of jade articles on ancient Chinese politics, etiquette, commerce, totems, religion, beliefs, and even customs and aesthetic tastes is unmatched by any other ancient artifacts. It is a god worshipped by ancient ancestors, a symbol of the strict ceremonial hierarchy, an expression of the ancient aesthetic concept, and an embodiment of the Chinese nation's good character. The history of the development of a jade is a history of Chinese civilization. The Chinese nation is known as the "love jade" and "respect jade".

Jade artifacts are both spiritual wealth and material wealth in ancient society. The unique luster and warm inner quality of jade make it a supernatural object, which is endowed with the beauty of humanity. The ancients seem to have devoted all their wisdom and enthusiasm to jade. The so-called "gentleman is better than jade", "German" is not only the characteristics of jade, but also anthropomorphic and moral, and has become a symbol of the good character of the gentleman in the minds of the ancients. The rareness of jade and the difficulty of carving, and the use of jade rituals, make the value of jade the first of the treasures, the ancients have the saying that "gold is valuable and jade is priceless."

Xianmin jade

Jade is highly valued and respected by its beautiful appearance and warm internal quality. As a craftsman, its production is related to the aesthetic concept of the ancients. So, when did the jade jewelry first appear?

Our ancestors have gone through millions of years of development before humanity ushered in the dawn of civilization. In the late Paleolithic period between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, with the progress of the stone-making process, the living conditions have been significantly improved. In some primitive humans in the Yellow River and Liaohe River Basin in the north of China, aesthetic consciousness gradually emerges. This kind of consciousness is reflected in real life, that is, many body decorations made of animal teeth and bones are produced. Although jade ornaments have not appeared in the Paleolithic era, the appearance of other various body materials has shown the emergence of aesthetic concepts and the increasing enrichment of people's spiritual world, all of which laid the foundation for the birth of jade jewelry.



In the Neolithic Age, people generally used grinding tools, and the production skills had a major leap, which led to the development of jade technology. According to the current archaeological excavation data, the earliest jade appeared in the Xinglongyu Cultural Relics of Aohan Banner in Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia, and the Chahai Cultural Relics in Fuxin City, Liaoning Province. The ages of these two sites are 7000 to 8000 years ago. Dozens of jade articles were unearthed. These jade objects are pure in color and smooth in grinding. From the analysis of the jade shape, the exquisite craftsmanship and the accuracy of the material selection, the jade production and use at that time was relatively developed. The emergence of jade is closely related to the improvement of human production skills from stone making to grinding stone tools, because the most basic steps in making a jade are cutting, honing and drilling, which requires relatively high grinding technology. In order to produce a jade product with a certain beautiful appearance.

In addition to China, there are two other places in the world known for their jade crafts, namely Central America and New Zealand. The jade articles produced in these two places are far less than the ancient Chinese jade in terms of styling, ornamentation, and duration and quantity. Therefore, the Chinese jade craftsmanship plays an extremely important role in the history of the world.

Jade

Primitive humans have a developmental process of understanding jade. At that time, people often regarded the color stone as finer than the general stone, which is more delicate and hard, and the color is gorgeous and similar to jade. Therefore, the ancient concept of jade is "the beauty of stone". "And give these mysterious "beautiful stones" a function of faith and worship.

Due to the low level of production technology, it is not easy to process these jade materials, so the color stone made of enamel is more precious. This is the first understanding of jade by human beings. At that time, the jade material was more complicated. It was not made of pure jade material like the later jade, but mixed with various stones. Therefore, the jade can be called “color stone jade” at this time. Nowadays, people often use the texture to be hard and delicate, the color is warm and elegant, the hardness is large, and it has a sense of transparency. The rocks and minerals suitable for carving into arts and crafts are called jade.

The material of jade has a wide and narrow meaning. Jade in a broad sense includes nephrite, jadeite, jasper, serpentine, crystal, chalcedony, agate, plagioclase, zoisite, white marble, quartzite, hibiscus, turquoise, lapis lazuli and so on. The narrow jade refers to nephrite, jadeite, serpentine and zoisite. This definition is strict and scientific, so it is widely used.

From the mineralogy point of view, nephrite is a group of hornblende group of hornblende group of tremolite-male-rock-iron-positive stone with a felt-like, cluster-like, bundle-like interwoven fiber microstructure, with grease Waxy luster, Mohs hardness 6-6.5 degrees, specific gravity 2.96-3.17. The quality of nephrite depends on its microstructural characteristics, that is, the thickness of the tremolite-mistolite interweaving fiber. The finer the fiber, the better the quality. The high-quality white nephrite is composed of tremolite, which is not widely distributed and rare. As the ancients said: “Jade is less expensive and more stone is used.” The color of nephrite depends on the trace elements contained in the mineral. The iron-free tremolite is white or light gray; the iron-containing tremolite is pale green or brown.

Nephrite is the most important jade species in China, mainly produced in the Hetian area of ​​Xinjiang. Hetian jade has a long history of application and the best quality. Western scholars once called Hetian jade Chinese jade as a representative of China's unique jade. Hetian jade is mainly distributed in the Altun Mountains and Kunlun Mountains in the south of the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang. It is from Qiemo County in the east and Tashkurgan County in the west. The east and west stretches over 1,100 kilometers. The basic color of Hetian jade is white, yellow, cyan and ink. The texture is fine in white, the luster is moist, and the smooth and smooth as the sheep fat, called sheep fat jade, is the most valuable variety in Hetian jade.



Other famous ancient nephrite producing areas include Liaoning Xiuyan, Shaanxi Lantian and Henan Dushan. The tremolite produced by Xiyuyan in Xiuyan, Liaoning Province is commonly known as “Xiyan Laoyu”. The texture is fine, the color is white, green, yellow and green. Many jade articles of Hongshan culture in the Neolithic Age are made of jade materials. of. Xiuyan and Shaanxi Lantian also produce serpentine jade. The color is usually light green with a slight yellow band, but also green beans, yellow green, white, yellow, dark green. Lan Tianyu was extensively mined during the Han and Tang Dynasties. Dushan is a small mountain in the northern suburbs of Nanyang City, Henan Province. The famous Dushan jade is produced here. The color of Dushan jade is more complicated, with white, green, yellow, purple and other colors. The texture is fine but uneven, and the colors are intertwined. Jadeite is a mineral species in the pyroxene group of smectites. It is translucent to slightly transparent and has colors such as green, red, yellow, white and purple. Jadeite, also known as jadeite, is named after the jade bird. This bird's feathers are red, called ostriches, and the female feathers are fresh and green. They are called kingfishers. The main color of the jade is in line with this bird, hence the name. Jadeite is a favorite jade variety of modern people. Emerald jade is the most precious thing in jadeite. It is like rain and wash holly, emerald green, bright and clear, crystal clear and delicate. 90% of the world's jadeites are produced in Burma. During the Qing Emperor Qianlong period, they were imported into the mainland. The shapes of the dragons were mainly made of dragon-shaped hooks, square plates, bracelets and necklaces.

琢玉成器

As the saying goes: Jade does not mean nothing. As early as in prehistoric times, the ancients have mastered a set of techniques that are primitive and simple, yet sophisticated and sophisticated. In archaeological excavations, some original jade tools, as well as discarded scraps and jade articles with traces of processing, were found to allow us to sequentially recover the actual process that was closer to the jade at that time. It is speculated that the jade process at that time was divided into mining jade, opening eyes, solving jade, drilling, grinding, engraving, polishing and so on.

The craft of Chinese jade was carried out in handicraft workshops until modern times. From the perspective of the jade industry in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the process flow is roughly divided into five steps.

The first step is to open the jade, which is to cut off the rough stone surface wrapped in the jade material. The main tool for cutting is the band saw. When sawing, it is necessary to add water and finely divided stone sand (ie jade sand) to reduce the heat generated by friction and increase the friction coefficient.

The second step is to machine the jade material on the lathe to make a rough outline of the object. The lathe for processing jade is called “Rotary Car”, and it is equipped with “Zha Shiyu” (round thin steel plate), “Crushing Stone” (round steel ring) and “Millstone” (round thick steel plate). First, cut the jade into squares or square bars, then rinse off the edges and corners, and finally grind the surface of the object.

The third step is to sculpt the jade that has been carved into a shape, hollowing out their inner shackles, forming an empty space in the inner space. The tools used are a steel reel and an iron shaft with a hook at one end. For some small items, such as moving fingers, cigarette bags, etc., you need to be very skilled in the hollowing out.

The fourth step is to sculpt various patterns on the outer surface of the jade. The tools used are similar to the shape of the nails, and the main lines are engraved. The hollowed pattern needs to be drilled. The tools used are curved bows and diamonds. The hardness of the diamond is 10 degrees, which can inspire all minerals. When engraving the openwork pattern, use a steel wire to extend into the drilled hole and cut it according to the line drawn on the jade piece.

The fifth step is to carefully polish the appearance of the carved jade. First, use wooden discs to cover the cowhide (called "piston"), and match it with sand-like "treasures" for the final polishing.



Whenever we appreciate the exquisite jade in ancient times, we will think of a puzzling question when we admire it: What tools did the ancients used to cure jade articles thousands of years ago? In the prehistoric period, the level of production technology was very low. The production tools used by people were made of natural materials such as stone, wood, bone, teeth, horns, and scorpions, and animal bones. The hardness was far less than that of bronze and iron. Jade with a higher hardness is obviously quite laborious.

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