The earliest jadeware found in China was a piece of serpentine stoneware unearthed in the site of the Cave in Haicheng of Liaoning Province dating back to the New Stone Age, more than 12,000 years ago.
The jade-carving technique developed fast in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods (770B.C-- 221B.C) The Spring and Autumn period was known for its well- carved and exquisite jadeware. The coherent and undulating patterns of dragon, phoenix on the jade decorations are still treasured today.
In Ming Dynasty when many still famous craftsmen emerged, white jade vessels with gold holders and white jade bowls with gold covers unearthed in the Ming Tombs, reflected the dynasty's peak level in jade carving.
The jadeware technique peaked in the Qing Dynasty (1644--1911) under the advocacy of Emperor Qianlong.
Jade in China is varied and can be divided into two categories: hard and soft. Good materials provide strong basics for jadeware carving, but the value of a jade object depends on the skills and reputation of craftsmen, the dates of carving, peculiar modelling and the owner's status.
The procedures of jade carving are as follows:
Examine the jade. Every piece of jade has its own determined nature, and it needs scanning repeatedly in all angles to find the beauty point.
Set up the shape. Through the first step, the framer creates a hazy picture in his mind, whose theme has been decided. It is the second step to put the picture in mind on paper or the jade which is the key point of the artwork making.
Carve the jade. This is the substantial procedure , since the jade is carved into an ideal solid sculpture through all kinds of skill methods.
Fine modification is the last step that makes the works more exquisite and live.
Jade culture is very rich in China. In conclusion, jade symbolizes beauty, nobility, perfection, constancy, power, and immortality in Chinese culture. For thousands of years till now, jade was and is a symbol of love and virtue as well as a status symbol.