On September 24, 2017,duringthe tenth anniversary of the Jinsha Site Museum, the Jades of Jinsha Special Exhibition on Xia and Shang Jade Culture opened at Jinsha Site Museum. This exhibition consisted of over 250 pieces of exquisite jade artifacts from 12 important archaeological sites including Taosi Site in Shanxi Province and Huadizui Site in Gongyi of Henan Province. This is China’s first organized exhibition of Xia and Shang jades.
The rise of China’s jade culture followed the emergence of Chinese civilization. Throughout the myraid transformations of jade culture’s meaning and essence over eight millennia, ancient jade ware evolved from ritual artist facts and items endowed with powers of the mystic to objects through which deities, kings, and persons were served. What has remained unchanging, however, is Chinese’s dedications to all facets of jade. Their commitment is total, and emblematic of their unique outlooks.
Xia and Shang dynasties were both monumental periods in the development of jade. Jade wares from these periods stand out for their far-reaching distribution, their exquistely integrated forms, and intricate techniques. For these reasons, Xia and Shang were considered the second peak of Chinese jade culture. From the Central Plains to the Chinese northwest, from the lower reaches of the Yellow River to the Yangtze, jade glittered persistently like stars – amicrocosom of the best of the jade culture during those periods. So join us to explore the dazzle of these jade wares.
Ritual Jade Wares Stole the Show
This exhibition has six sections: "beautiful jades made from the heavens,""might of axes and halberds,""dignity of rituals,""octagonal and circular jades,""intricate sculptures", and "patterns and craftsmanship”. These sections introduced jade and its common forms, crafts, and jade’s decorative applications during Xia and Shang dynasties."Might of axes and halberds,""dignity of rituals" and "octagonal and circular jades" showcased rich arrays of ritualistic jade items, demonstrating the Xia and Shang tradition of serving deities through jade.
Professor Zhang, from Wuhan University’s College of History, happened to be at the "might of axes and halberds" exhibition. The numerous axes, halberds, chisels, blades and other jade items, Zhang noted, might signal force, but these weapons, though common employed for tribal conflicts, lose their military utility if made with jade. However, these martially obsolete weapons gained social significance and bespoke their bearers’ authority.
Witnessing the Mysteries of Jade with Experts
To gain insight into the production techniques of jade wares unearthed at the Jinsha site, a "Jinsha Site Jade Ware Fracture Trace Craftsmanship Research Task Force" was formed by the Chengdu Cultural Relics Research Institute, Chengdu Jinsha Site Museum, and the Centre for Chinese Archaeology and Art at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Through microscopic and hi-definition photographing of traces and fractures in the production and usage of these jade items, as well as technical observation and comparison of of micro fractures and other methodologies, comparative research is conducted on jade wares from ancient Sichuan, China, and other regions in East Asia to discover the unique features in the form, craftsmanship and origin of Jinsha's jade pieces.
At the tenth anniversary of the Jinsha Site Museum, over 40 cultural studies organizations and more than 80 jade culture research experts from around the country gathered for the "Xia and Shang Period Jade Culture International Academics Symposium" from September 24 to 26, 2017. With an expansive cultural vision, they added new breadth and depth into the research and study of Chinese jade culture.
At the special exhibition hall, scholars and experts inspected the details of each artifact with their small torch lights, observing every miniscule cut, chip, and indention. Every detail was recorded on notebooks, sound tracked by a choir of astonished praised and exclamations.
Address: B1/F, Jinsha Site Museum
Time:2017.09.24 - 2017.12.24