Jade and the Beliefs of Ancient China

Talking about gems that play roles in the history of China for a long time, whether in the aspect of giving cultural and spiritual value through its beauty and durability in both the form of jewelry and decorative items, also the first thing that you will see and comes to your mind first when watching Chinese historical period drama is “Jade” This time, ACU PAY will delve into the history of China’s precious gemstones about what their origins and beliefs are.

“Yog” or “Yu” in Mandarin or Ngek in Chaozhou Chinese. This gem originated from the Neolithic period around 5000 BC. During that time, people began to discover and appreciate the unique quality of jade. In natural form, jade is a hard and thick stone that can be polished to make it shine beautifully. The color of the jade ranges from light white to dark green and often has complex patterns and is translucent.

In ancient Chinese beliefs, jade is a gem that is regarded as a symbol of five virtues: benevolence, integrity, courage, justice, and wisdom. Jade is a gem that has ties to the Chinese from birth to death because it is believed that jade is a sacred gem that connects heaven and earth. It brings prosperity, and good luck to those who own it and also makes those who wear it live long.

Chinese people in the past, regardless of class, preferred to wear jade as an ornament and as different appliances. For example, Chinese emperors preferred to use jade as a royal seal, ring, scepter, or Throne Hall. In addition, ordinary Chinese people always have their children carry jade with them. The girl wears jade bracelets and the boy carries utensils made of jade or jade amulet, or even when they die, the jade will be buried with the body.

The reason why jade was buried with the body is because the Chinese believe that jade can keep the body from decaying. Evidence confirming this belief comes from the excavation of the Emperor’s jade robe in the Western Han Dynasty 2,000 years ago. In the funeral tradition, Chinese people often put a jade carved in a round, flat shape with a hole in the center that represents the symbol of heaven called “Pi” behind the body and place the square jade, which symbolizes the world, called “Tsung” on the front for heaven’s support.

In addition, the Chinese believe that jade can be used as an omen for the wearer. Using a method of observing the color of jade. If there is a bright color indicating that you are going to have luck, but if the jade has dark colors or cracks, it may be bad luck.

 Jade also appeared in sculptures such as jade partitions, tablets, decorative carvings, various architecture within the palace area, temples, or private collections of the elite during the Ming Dynasty. Carvings are quite complex and very delicate. They rely on skilled craftsmen with particular skills and expertise to create the beauty of jade in that piece.

Today, Chinese jade is still loved and respected around the world. Jade art, jewelry, and decorative objects are also sought by collectors and experts. The jade also represents a long history of Chinese culture and its beauty and spiritual meaning. The sacred and luck have attracted enthusiasts over the centuries.

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