China is one of the four oldest civilizations country in the world, and jade is one of its most important symbols. According to archeologists, jade has been found and used for more than ten thousand years in China.
The “Jade Culture” which originated from the New Stone Age and continues to this very day has distinguished China from other civilizations of the ancient world. Chinese regard jade as the pneuma of heaven and earth and use it as a medium between human beings and Gods, which gives an unusual religious significance to the jade.
Jade became an indication of people’s prestige as well as an important part of maintaining the so-called etiquette of the social order. Meanwhile, the special use of the jade in funerals makes it mysteriously and religiously significant. At the same time, respect on jade’s natures which are compared as the virtue that noblemen should have is a great creation by the Chinese people. Thus, the spiritual Jade culture from ancient China is an interesting and unique case in world civilization. It is the material base of the soul of the Chinese cultural traditions.
Royal families and aristocrats of all dynasties regarded Lantian jade as one of the most valuable treasures. Emperor Qin Shihuang (the First Emperor of China) used a piece of Lantian jade as his imperial seal. Li Longji, Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty, once gave a piece of Lantian jade to Yang Yuhuan, his favorite concubine.
Lantian Jade is one of the most famous Chinese jades. It is unique and culturally significant because it was the first to be actively mined. The exploration and usage of the Lantian Jade goes back to the New Stone Age, which is more than 4000 years ago. The poet Li Shangyin (李商隐) of the late Tang Dynasty’s poem “Mermen weep their pearly tears down a moon-green sea, Blue fields are breathing their jade to the sun....(沧海月明珠有泪，蓝田日暖玉生烟) depicts the features of Lantian Jade vividly.
Lantian Jade is divided into emerald (翠玉), dark jade (墨玉), colored jade (彩玉), white jade (白玉) and topaz (黄玉). It is a good material for carving, arts and crafts. According to the recent information, the reserves of Lantian Jade are more than 1 million cubic meters and are located primarily in Yuchuan Village (玉川乡)and Hong Mensi Village (红门寺乡). Lantian Jade is hardy, colorful, and fine-grained.
Lantian Jade is mined in Lantian Xian county of the Shaanxi province of central China. Lantian Jade known for its light green to pale yellow color was primarily used up until the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD), when Hetian jade became increasingly popular.
Lantian jade carving is native to Lantian County, Shaanxi Province, which is celebrated at all times and all over the world for its long history, fine engraving and the beautiful ornamental mould.
The texture of the Lantian Jade is hard and close-grained. The jade usually with multicolor, it touches gentle and shone with every hue in the light. The composition of the Lantian Jade ore includes some sedimentary strata such as the ophiolite, tremolite, peridot, kallaite, dolerite and brucite etc. Its chemical composition includes sionox, alumina, magnesia sodium oxide, calcia, cupric oxide, and bengala. Its Mohs hardness ranges from 2 to 6 so this is a very good material for jade carving.
The jade wares made of the Lantian jade shone with jade green, look crystal and filled with verve.
According to physicochemical assay, there are many microelements conduce to human in the Lantian Jade e.g. calcium, iron, potassium, natrium, manganese, cuprum etc. Lantian Jade is deemed as the health protection jade because it is not only stimulate the circulation of the blood and cause the muscles and joints to relax, but also keep youthfulness and strengthen the body. If a person often girds a piece of jade or wears a jade bracelet, the microelements will be intaken by the body via his or her skin, and therefore reaches a balance in yin and yang and Qi and blood (a term of TCM), and brings on health care, preventing from diseases and lengthening people's life.
The jade wares made of the Lantian jade shone with jade green, look crystal and filled with verve. Their shapes are diverse, some like dark green pine trees and green cypress trees, some like a school of fishes swimming in the water, some like blossoming peony, some like flowering chrysanthemum, some like panda biting bamboo, or a tiger howling in the valley, or a flying crane...
Lantian Jade is also called “health Jade” because of its ability to relax tendons and beautify skin. Royalty and nobles treasured Lantian Jade for a variety of reasons. The Emperor Qingshihuang used it to make his imperial seal; Yangguifei used it as her jade belt.Now the Lantian Jade Carvings are very popular with the home and foreign consumers, they have been found in many jade articles stores in Xi'an and the markets in the western countries.
How can you select the authentic Lantian Jade? Most Lantian Jade is emerald green, kind of like the color of young cabbage leaves. Other colors of Lantian Jade are suet white, azure, yellow and burnt henna. Experience and careful observation of the jade are quite important for you to select a nice jade.
If you are interested in how Lantian Jade carving were made in the first place, you can discover it in Xi'an Jade Carving Factory . It is a good place to learn and have fun. You can actually join the work flow to make one by your own by following the original technique and process.
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