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Liangzhu Jade

Liangzhu Jade

Jade has been highly treasured and prized by Chinese, as a Chinese saying goes "Gold has a value; jade is invaluable".

Liangzhu is one of two major jade centers of the Neolithic age. In terms of its unique materail, type, carving decoration, working techniques and the distinct culture characteristic, the unearthed jades are well-known in the world.

Most Liangzhu jade items were excavated in Zhejiang province, Jiangsu province and Shanghai province, The key culture sites include Caoxieshan, Sidun, Zhanglingshan, Huating, Fuquanshan, Fanshan, etc.

According to scientific identification, most Liangzhu jade works were made from local nephrite jade, could classified into ritual and insignia jade types, as well as implements. They are characterized by the fine work, especially the harmonious and exquisite carving decoration. The most mysterious is the god prttern. With ferocious face, he's wearing a huge and luxurious crown of feathers and sits akimbo on a mythical beast. This kind of concrete or abstract mysterious pattern of clan is regarded as a particular symbol of Liangzhu jade craftwork. The appearance of the great number of ritual jades with religious color, such as cong and bi, is recognized as the dawn of the Chinese civilization.

Cong jade is prominent for its unique shape of an oblong, squared tube with a round hole which symbolized the sovereign metaphysical power. Bi jade is a circle ring used to worship heaven. It was the token of fortune in Liangzhu Period.

In the ancient times when on alloy implements were discouvered, how could such fine decorations be carved? It's still a mystery. Some scholars think that the decoration was carved using shark teeth, while some other scholars estimate that the instrument used for carving bowlders were made of carnelian and crystal. Japanese archaeologists deem that the carving instrument should be diamond. For now, we have no idea of its real situation. However, what we can be sure of is that Liangzhu jade wares must have a rather close relationship with the historical and cultural tradition of the Chinese nation. Being one of the culture elements unique to Chinese nation, Liangzhu jade wares contain a great deal of information about history.

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