Delicate Treasure: Chinese Folk Ancient Jade Exhibition

Delicate Treasure: Chinese Folk Ancient Jade Exhibition


Delicate Treasure: Chinese Folk Ancient Jade Exhibition
Period: from July 8th to October 20th;
Place: Ledao Hall

Main Sponsor: Prince Kung’s Mansion Management Center of the Ministry of Culture of China


Cooperative Sponsor: China Jade Culture Research Institution


The love Chinese people to Jade has a long history. Jade culture, which core concept is jade stone, is one of the most important parts of Chinese traditional culture. Jade stone not only shows its beauty to audience from outer appearance, ancient people also treated jade stones’ different features as noblemen’s personalities. A set of remarks by Confucius is vivid and deep in meaning, comprehensively indicating the virtue of jade’s beauty.


Confucius said, jade’s feature is like virtue of noblemen, warm, tender and glossy, just like kindheartedness of noblemen; hard but having veins on its surface, like wisdom of noblemen; firm and unyielding, like justice of noblemen; pointed but not hurting people, like deeds of noblemen; if been parted but cannot be winded, like bravery of noblemen; stain and defect all exposing on the surface, like honesty of noblemen. If knocking on the jade, the sound is distinct, spreading far away, and then it stops instantly, just like the beauty of noblemen’s remarks. Although legendary beautiful stone has colorful texture, it is still inferior to the pure white and brightness of jade. The Book of Odes says, “I miss noblemen, because their tenderness is just like precious jade.”


Kindheartedness, wisdom, justice, deeds, bravery, honesty and remarks, which are noblemen’s virtue, tightly connect to jade’s texture, brightness and its features. Tender and glossy, hard and unyielding, parted but not winded, those personifications gave jade great honor. No matter poor or rich, decent or humble, ancient society sees the virtue of jade as the symbolization of culture. Reading and explanation to jade has escalated as yearn and pursuit towards happy life.


Four Chinese characters “He, Gong, Ren and Wen” are cultural essences, staff of the Prince Kung’s Mansion give to this ancient imperial garden, and coincide with the essence of jade. These four Characters cover four important periods of the Prince Kung’s Mansion and also show core concept of traditional culture. “He” represents peace, unite, harmony and happiness; “gong” is good manners, polite and modest, and its pronunciation the same as another Chinese character “gong”, meaning to develop cooperatively; “ren” is the core of Confucianism. Kindhearted people love human. It is not only a moral discipline, but also the law of nature people getting along with each other. The thinking of kindheartedness is getting through Chinese culture of thousands of years; “wen” means humanity, culture, relics, civilization, is a kind of fruitful materials and mental status when Prince Kung’s Mansion develops to a certain stage, it is recognized by the society. “He, Gong, Ren and Wen” is the core concept and objective of staff of the Prince Kung’s Mansion develop and create. Those cultural essences are also virtue of jade proposed by Confucius.


Jade is generally used among important circumstances in ancient ages. Jade-made sacrificial items as important sacrificial vessel can be traced back to the New Stone Age. “Cangbi Jade honors sky. Huangzong Jade honors land. Qinggui Jade honors east. Chizhang Jade honors south. Baihu Jade honors west. Xuanhuang Jade honors north.” Those sacrificial regulations are inherited by emperors of many dynasties. Noble people also loved jade very much. The Book of Odes: Qin Dynasty Chapter says “Precious jade wearing is the best to be a gift.” The great poet Qu Yuan also expressed his feeling in Jiuge that “stting on a beautiful Yao stone made mat embraced by precious jade cover and smelling the perfume of beautiful flowers, it is a good chance to drink wine.” There are many poems in the Tang Dynasty setting jade as the theme. For example, Wang Han’s Starting for the Front writes “when taking up the jade cup to drink grape wine wildly, the lute on horses urged soldiers to go to the battlefront immediately”. Li Shangyin also has poems concerning jade like “weather getting warm, jade on the Lantian Mountain seems to have smoke rising”. Therefore, it can be concluded that jade plays an important role in ancient people’s daily life.


Moral meaning jade extends usually appears in literature works of many forms. The Story of the Stone, honored as the number one of the four famous novels, takes jade stone as the theme to build a sentimental love story, and reflects jade’s big influence in ancient noble people’s daily life. The protagonist Jia Baoyu originally is telepathy jade, and other protagonists Lin Daiyu and Miao yu also have inner connections with jade. Many roles in the works have Chinese pronunciation “Yu” which is jade in their names, and so do many poems. Deceased scholar Zhou Ruchang has proved that Prince Kung’s Mansion is the prototype of the Grand View Garden in the Story of the Stone. Holding a jade exhibition in the Prince Kung’s Mansion makes an extension of legends between jade and the Grand View Garden.


Prince Kung’s Mansion is a researching center of the Qing Dynasty’s mansions’ culture. Mansion culture and jade culture are all important parts of traditional culture’s research. These two tightly connects to each other and enriches each other in contents. Through this jade exhibition, essence which lies in jade is well demonstrated in the Mansion, and its academic exchange meaning far beyond the exhibition itself.


Best wishes for the success of this exhibition.

                                                                     Sun Xuguang
                                         Director of the Prince Kung’s Mansion Management Center

Delicate Treasure: Chinese Folk Ancient Jade Exhibition

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