Jade, hardstones and snuffbottles Maximize

Jade, hardstones and snuffbottles

Jade has fascinated China, more than any other civilization, which has made it one of the favorite medium of its art, and this since the oldest times.

This stone, known in China as yu (玉), is a nephrite. Its solidity and beauty have always exerted a great attraction on the Chinese. The most popular and renowned jade is the white jade called "mutton fat". In addition to white jade, many colors can be found: yellow, gray, black, rust, red, spinach green, celadon green ... The veined jade will be cut with special motifs by Chinese craftsmen to highlight their beauty and specificity.
From the Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368), there is an evolution of the style of Chinese jades. During the Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), carved jades took the form of decorative vases, dishes, cups, hairpins, ornaments, ritual objects, and small figurines representing mythical and fabulous animals...
Under the Qing (1644 - 1911), the supply of nephrite is facilitated. A vast repertoire of objects is produced for the Forbidden City and the high dignitaries of the imperial court: domestic utensils, literati instruments (brushes, brush holders, armrests, water droppers, paperweights…) religious and ceremonial objects, ornaments (necklaces, pendants, belt buckles), perforated perfume boxes, spittoons, vases, censers, bowls, snuffboxes, bowls, table screens, archer rings ... These recall the nomadic origins of the Manchu Qing dynasty. The carved jades with Buddhist and Daoist decorations were also highly sought-after.
Emperor Qianlong had a great passion for objects in jade, which he presented in his scholar studio. He collected archaic jades and archaic-style jades carved by the craftsmen of the imperial court. Under the influence of the Mughal empire in India and Indian lapidaries, the Chinese will also be interested in Mughal jades with inlaid gemstones, especially rubies, and decorative vocabulary very different from that of Chinese jades.

Jadeite, agate, amber, rock crystal, jasper, turquoise, and soapstone were also medium for sculpture. They are used to make snuff bottles, small carved figures, pendants, cups, religious objects and literali objects.