Jade Ware, Beijing
With its bright and pure luster, jade has long been considered by the Chinese as a treasure of tremendous value and a symbol of one's social status. In ancient time only the wealthy could afford to wear jade carving for the purpose of ornament and others For instance, many Taoist followers believed, even though sounding strange, that jade was edible and could keep one physically immortal. Many years ago, today's Huashi of Chongwenmen in Beijing was a huge and prosperous jade market where numerous jade artisans and merchants met and traded each day. Beijing has long been a centre for China'jade industry.
Ancient Chinese believed jade to be the essence of Heaven and the Earth, so they carved jade into birds and beasts and worshiped as totems. Those who were engaged in this industry belonged to the higher class of the handicraftsmen. Some famous jade carvers were even called Xian Sheng or Master. Today in Beijing the designs of jade ware follow the old tradition to a large extent which is shown in some jade ware masterpieces that are made today. The Beijing Jade Carving Factory, for instance, once made a pair of matchbox-sized jade ornaments called the Good Fortune Illustrated by the Dragon and Phoenix. Out of such a piece of small jade, the relief of a dragon, a phoenix, butterflies, the symbol of the "Double Happiness" were skillfully carved. The other masterpiece that they made is a piece called "Stealing the Immortal Grass" which was based on a traditional Chinese legend about the love between a man and a snake fairy. In the carving the snake fairy clad in red is flying and chasing with a black linzhi, or glossy ganoderma (a sort of fungi, hard and normally black in color, believed to be an elixir in Chinese legend). The most impressive is that the original color of the jade is smartly utilized to for the snake fairy and linzhi.
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