Jade culture is an important branch of traditional Chinese culture. In ancient time, the most precious and valuable jewels in China were nothing about gold or diamond, they were all about jade. In Chinese people’s mind, top-grade jade is more valuable than gold.
Today we’d like to share a kind of famous jade in China – Lantian Jade. Lots of people may have heard about or have seen Lantian Jade during their China tour. But they actually have very limited knowledge about Lantian Jade. Lantian Jade is a branch of Marble serpentine that is suitable to make relatively “big” articles like stamp and desk/shelf ornaments. Ancient Chinese people call the beautiful stone as Jade, as early as in the primary society, people started to use jade to make artifacts.
When Emperor Qin Shihuang unified China, he made an official-use emperor stamp with Lantian Jade. Since that time, who owned that Lantian Jade emperor stamp, he would be legal ruler of Chinese nation. In the following Han Dynasty, Lantian Jade was mainly used to make jewels. And when it turned to Tang Dynasty, Lantian Jade welcomed it’s golden time. It is said Emperor Xuanzong made a Qing – a Chinese style percussion instrument – for his beloved concubine Lady Yang. In the later hundreds of years, Lantian Jade gradually lost its position as jewels material since it is increasingly difficult to find. Many people think Lantian Jade has disappeared in history, but in eyes of jade carvers, there are still lots of authentic Lantian Jade lying in deep mountains in Lantian. Though they are more difficult to be found than ancient time, but they are still there, waiting some people really know jade to find them and make exquisite artworks out of them.
If you have interest, a Xian side trip to Lantian will introduce you to local jade carvers and Lantian Jade culture. It takes about 1.5 hours from Xian, but you will see a totally impressive country landscape nearby Xian.