Carving art has a long history hi China and it reflects the culture of Chinese nation. The carving remains and cultural relics kept till now are the precious artistic pearls in the treasure house of Chinese art. There arc many types of carving, mainly four types in China. that is. jade carving, wood carving, stone carving and bamboo carving.
Jade is understood in China as the collective name for most precious stones, and the love of jade ware has been one of the cultural features of China. The Chinese regard carved jade objects as intrinsically valuable, and they metaphorically equate jade with human virtue due to its solidity, durability and (moral) beauty. Jade can ba divided into many categories such as white jade. yellow jade, agate, and turquoise, etc. The jade carved into different shapes is called jade carving which is one of the oldest carving types and constitutes an important part of Chinese arts and crafts.
Many countries boast a jade ware culture, but none of them can match China’s long jade ware history. In China, jade ware underwent a long process of development beginning from the Neolithic Age 10,0(30 years ago. The earliest jade ware found in Haicheng, Liaoning Province, dating back more than 12,000 years ago.
The second jade ware was a small hanging jade article excavated at Hemudu in Zhejiang Province dating back more than 7,00~3 years ago. Jade ware from that period was mainly used for personal decoration. A large number of exquisite jade objects were produced 4,00(3 years ago. At the time. jade ware was mainly used for witchcraft and as an emblem of privilege.
The three dynasties of Xia, Shang and Zhou were significant periods in the development of Chinese ancient jade articles. There were few jade articles found of Xia Dynasty. During the Shang Dynasty, with the development of society, craftsmen used metal tools to make progress in jade ware models and sculpture. During Zhou Dynasty, ancient jade art had achieved a high level and jade carving had become an Independent trade.
In the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period and the kingdoms paid spacial attention to the producing of jade carving articles; as a result, well-carved, initiative and exquisite works were left and the coherent and undulating patterns of the dragon, phoenix panli(a figure of Chinese folklore) on the jade decorations are still treasured today.