Thin bodied jade carvings have been very popular during the Yuan and Qing dynasties. Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty was especially fond of this type of jade works of art, he set up a single purpose royal workshop to produce them during his reign.
Qianlong treated the successful production of each piece as a special occasion, he would compose a poem each time a new piece was born.
After Emperor Qianlong passed away, the production of these jade artworks was stopped. A few centuries later, another talented craftsman, PAN Bing-heng, started to revive it during the 1930s.
The keys to the success of making these extraordinary art works are:
Material selection – the jade stones must have a fine consistency, without cracks or blemishes inside.
A beautiful and clever design – the artisan needs to hatch a beautiful design matching the qualities of the jade stone at hand, this process is known as ‘judging the jade’.
Meticulous attention during production – each step of the production process needs to be done with perfection: the trimming, shaping, carving, hollowing and polishing work all demand special care to make each piece a success.
These beautiful, exquisite Chinese jade works of art could still bring us a wonderful sense of joy, hundreds of years after their creation.