Art of Jade
August 15, 2020 - May 23, 2021Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery
In ancient China and Mesoamerica, jade items had profound cultural implications. They were used as symbols of social identity, hierarchy, status, wealth, and power in Chinese culture. In Mesoamerican cultures, jade was highly prized and often connected to rulers and spirituality. The stone continues to be an important artistic medium to this day.
Artists need to be highly skilled because working with jade is labor intensive, time-consuming, and detailed. Traditional methods of carving like chipping the surface with a chisel are not effective because of the stone’s hardness. Instead, artists must employ a three-part process that includes cutting, grinding, and polishing. They often allow the material’s natural features to determine the completed form. Dark spots in a stone transform into the details of an animal’s fur or streaks of color delineate the wings of a bird. This exhibition includes 75 objects that illustrate the endless aesthetic possibilities of jade.