Wednesday, March 7, 2018

We're Sitting on a Jade Mine!

You can put a price on gold, but jade is priceless.  -Ancient Chinese Proverb

We're sitting on a jade mine!  

In support of our exhibition Mirroring China's Past: Emperors and Their Bronzes, we're introducing a collection of jewelry made of gorgeous, green jade. Regarded as the most precious material in Chinese culture, its value is analogous to that of gold in the West.  

Due to its density, jade is extremely difficult to work with. Only the finest craftspeople were adept at carving it, which amplified its worth. Subsequently, ownership of jade was a symbol of wealth and social status and was common in Imperial contexts. Though the green variety is best-known; white jade, or nephrite, is less common and more valuable.

Known as the "Stone of Heaven," jade is a symbol of purity and protection. Historically, it was worn as jewelry and used in ritual contexts, where it was believed to connect heaven and earth and ward off evil. Jade was also used in the construction of opium pipe mouthpieces, as it was thought to bequeath longevity upon smokers.

 Natural Jade Double Dragon Necklace

Whether you're inspired by the spiritual significance of this stone, or if green's just your color,  we hope you've learned a little!

Need more green in your life?

To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online:

Proceeds from all purchases support the Art Institute of Chicago's many programs.

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