Thursday, May 2, 2013

RenZe Jade Factory -Chelsea Brown

RenZe Jade Factory
Chelsea Brown

Jade, known in China as Yu, is important in Chinese culture. First used in the Neolithic time period (3000 to 2000 BC), the gem was believed to have magical powers and guard against evil spirits and illness. Jade symbolized beauty, grace, purity, longevity, and dignity. More importantly, jade was recognized as the link between physical and spiritual life. Up until the 16th century, carved Jade was commonly used in China for symbols of status, imperial and ceremonial objects, and burial ornaments.   
Our tour guide for Beijing, Terry, explained a few things about Jade and Chinese culture on the way to the RenZe factory. He said that Jade was important to all Chinese people, often symbolizing good luck and health. He showed us the jade pendant he wears around his neck, explaining that he has worn it since he was a child. Terry told us that as time went on, the jade darkened as a result of being so close to his skin, exposed to his body temperature. 

According to the Chinese, the greener the jade, the better the health of the individual, because the jade absorbs any sickness. Terry said that many Chinese women wear jade jewelry and the men often wear necklaces. Terry also told a story about his childhood. When Terry was a boy, his mother had a jade pendant that fell to the ground and shattered. For that day, his mother stayed in the home, afraid to leave. In China, when Jade shatters this means it has saved your life; to avoid further risks one should not engage in any activity. After talking about the different Chinese traditions and beliefs, Terry insisted that the belief of the powers of Jade is not just a superstition in China, but a way of life and a belief ingrained into the culture. 

When we got to the factory our group received a tour of the factory. We were shown the process of cleaning and carving the jade and explained the differences of the varieties of jade. Because the factory is run by the government, the government also guarantees the quality of the jade. Our group was assured of this quality and told that to tell real jade from glass one must hold it to the light; glass appears clear while jade looks milky because of the minerals inside.

The factory was extremely large and full of expensive sculptures and jewelry. For me it was overwhelming and a bit scary to see so many priceless objects surrounding me, because some of the figurines were worth more than my entire college tuition bills combined! Our group made it a game to find the most expensive item, and one of the band members found a Jade table worth over $400,000. Even so, there were also lower priced items of quality that were beautiful. Many of the girls ended up buying jade earrings or pendants under $50. The factory was fun to see, and now that I know more about the meaning behind jade, I feel I have some insight to the ways of Chinese culture.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to thanks for sharing nice blog!!
    Really i like this blog!! jade chinese