Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jade, Marble and The Sacred Way

Jade has been used in China practically since China began.  It is prized for its durability, musical qualities,
translucent colors and its protective qualities.  It was thought to prevent fatigue and delay
the decomposition of the body.  Jadeite contains an iron component which appears red, chromium that
appears green, and many other colored types and is very hard.  Known as the "king of jade", it is usually the most expensive and the type that jewelry is made from.  Nephrite jade can also be divided into different classifications according to color: white, grey, green, topaz and black.  Apparently the black comes from deeper in the ground, according to our guide at the store. There are various areas in China which produce jade and each one has its own varieties, but the jade from Nanyang also produces
 colors like red, purple and blue which are rare.

Isn't this ship the most incredible looking piece of art!! The hours it must have taken to carve this.
To me jade was green and l never thought it was any other color, but you see a lot of white jade here.
You can acquire pretty much any kind of statue or piece of art work you want, made from what ever grade you can afford.
I'm afraid there wasn't much we could have afforded in this store.  Most of these big pieces are bought by
corporations or collectors.

This lady was demonstrating the grinding tool used to make one of these balls.
I liked these balls.  I can't remember what they were called, but they represented family and how you were intertwined.  It's made from a solid piece and there are three separated rings inside and each piece moves independently.  Each ring is carved with designs.  There were ones made by students and ones by the master carvers.  I bought a student made one!!!  Much cheaper and still pretty.
This eagle was magnificent. How do you know if jade is the real deal?  Chinese believe jade is a living
stone and if held up to a strong light and you can see flecks of stuff in it, it may be real!!  Also each type has a specific density but you'd need to know how to measure for that.  Real jade also has a certain sound
like with crystal but you can't always tell by the either, so the only way to know if its real is to have
an expert check it out.  Real pieces come with an authentication certificate.
Highly polished horse.
I'm not really sure but l think this is a giant bok choy!
Exquisite panels.
To me jade should still be green!!!
This bear didn't do it for me either, but look at the price tag!!!  That's about $21,000 Cad.
They had a lot of marble vases that l could have easily taken home, but alas they too were
 way out of reach!!
The Ming Tombs are a few miles out of Beijing, and although we didn't have time to
see them, l wanted to see the Sacred Way which leads to the actual tombs.
Marble Memorial Arch in front of the entrance.  It was built in 1540 and is the largest of its
kind in China.
Dallas and our guide David in front of the Stele pavilion.  Inside is a giant 50 ton tortoise which has a dragon head and is carrying a stone with  the names of the Emperors buried at the site.
One of the stone carved steles that are on either side of the gate.  There are 4 of these, one on each
corner of the pavilion.  Each of the mythical beasts on top are facing in a specific direction.

Beginning of the Sacred Way or also called the Spirit Way.  It is lined with 24 pairs of marble statues
of animals, and mythical Chinese beasts.  This hexagonal column is carved with
a cloud design and has an identical one on the other side.

A lion apparently!
Now this one l know!

The trees foliage was very pretty.
Each statue is carved from a single stone.
We had to have a picture with the same elephant that Mao had his taken with!!

Mao and cohorts visiting.
These statues have been here for 500 years, leading the way to the tombs.

They don't look very large until you stand beside them.  There are 24 animals, two  kneeling and
two standing.
Love this guys eyebrows!!

  After the animals come the humans and there are 12
people and they represent a funeral cortege of the Emperor, made up of
civil, military and officials.

End of the 4 mile Way.  Guarded by a Qilin which has scale's on the body, a cows tail, deer hooves 
and  horns on its head.  Isn't he lovely!!!

Looking from the end back towards the entrance.  Aren't the trees magnificent?

Heading to the final gate.
The Dragon - Phoenix Gate.  Beyond this is the Seven Arch Bridge and then you go further into the mountain to where the tombs are.  We didn't have time to go there but the Sacred Way was lovely
and serene.

No comments:

Post a Comment