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Studies On Jades And Jade Culture In The Pre-Qin Period

Posted on:2004-02-22Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:Y H CuiFull Text:PDF
GTID:2155360092496571Subject:History of science and technology
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In an era when stone was cutting-edge technology, Jade became the heart of Chinese civilization. Long before the western archaeological techniques were introduced to our country, it was believed that there had been a "Jade Age" in China. Chinese favors jades not only for their physical property, but also for their connotative meaning personated by our ancient forbears since The Pre-Qin Period. Furthermore Jade has formed a perfect and durative culture with its exclusive characteristic.From the cultural point of view, we render a brief discussion on the impacts on the culture of China resulting from the development of jades production craftsmanship and jades' connotation in Pre-Qin Period. Based on the recent archaeological references and excavating reports, this thesis focuses its discussion on the following issues: the distribution of the ancient jades, the ornamental pattern of the ancient jades, the form and shape and function of the ancient jades, and the production techniques of the ancient jades. Based on the reports of jades, which have already been unearthed from the typical sites in each period, we make a interpretation and comparison between the unearthed jade with the Oracle Inscriptions on the tortoise shells and Bronze Inscriptions. The main content have several parts as the following:In Neolithic Age, the Liaohe River valley was one of the centres of origin of the jade culture in the north of our country, whereas the area west of the the Liaohe was where the most advanced prehistoric jade culture was found in the northeast, which we call "Hongshan Culture". The Hongshan Jade Culture which mostly the Dragon-shaped and ring-shaped pendants, were the mainstream jade cultures of the northeast. Besides the Hongshan Culture, Liangzhu Culture is known to be the other largest jade sites in mainland. The main Centre of Liangzhu culture was located around the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the Taihu region. The artifacts from these two culture provided us with material and information on the origin of jade in China as well as the production skills of the ancient society and the diversity of the Prehistory culture. There is the indication that jade-making of this period had gradually developed into independent handicraft industries. These artifacts constituted a complete set of significant material and information on the development of jade making in China.During the Shang Dynasty, jades were used for offering sacrifices to the significant deceased emperors or officials, or deities such as the river and mountain. In some instances, jades were utilized to produce ornaments, or served as self-entertainment instruments for the court musicians or emperors. This is consistent with the earliest records in the Oracle Inscriptions on the tortoise shells, the kind of fervent passion that the people the Shang Dynasty had for precious jade resulted in a fetishism of jade. The Shang Dynasty records reveal that there was a relatively few number of occasion where only limited amount of jades were used each time for offering sacrifices. The sacrifices were mostly made to the renowned emperor in past history, reflecting the significance of jade offering.In the ancient inscriptions of bestowal of rewards and titles in The Zhou Dynasty, there was some mentioning of rewards of ritual jades as well as the holding of jade ceremonies. In combining these written records with the ritual jade objects unearthed from Guoguo Tomb at Shangcunling County, we could have a general view of the jade rituals of We'stern Zhou. The jade rituals held by the dukes, princes and officials under the emperors are basically coincided with the written records. Different specification of the shapes and forms of the ritual jades were tokens representing the different ranking and statuses of the nobles.In the Spring & Autumn Period and Warring States Period, ritual jade still were the symbol of the noble wealth and power, moreover it were personated by confucianists, in which "Zhongyong" interprets the core spirit. However, during th...
Keywords/Search Tags:The Pre-Qin Period, Jade, Jade Culture, Prehistory Culture, Ritual Jade Utility
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