Jade (from the mineral jadeite), has an intense green color, it is also white, the latter is appreciated in Europe. It is reputed for its durability, magical qualities and beauty. Some ancient cultures worked it and embellished their culture, such as the Mayans and the Chinese. However, in China it reached its most refined and exquisite carving. It was worked by Chinese artisans in ornaments, for ceremonial weapons and ritual objects.
We present here some objects made of or with jade, mostly from the Sir Joseph Hotung Collection of the British Museum, which was described in a previous article.
Object Typ: teapot. Description: Tea-pot. Made of Yixing stoneware, encased in pewter and with jade handle, spout and knob for cover. Inscription. Decorated on one side with branches and two birds (swallows). Cultures/periods: Qing dynast. Production date: 1768-1822. Production place Made in: Yixing. Asia: China: Jiangsu (province): Yixing. Materials: stoneware, pewter, jade. Technique: moulded. Dimensions: Height: 8.50 centimetres; Width: 14.50 centimetres (spout to handle) (spout to handle). Inscription type: maker’s mark. Inscription position: inside. Inscription language: Chinese. Inscription script: Seal script. Inscription content: 楊彭年製. Inscription transliteration: Yang Pengnian zhi. Inscription translation: Made by Yang Pengnian. (Photos: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)/ British Museum)
Object Type: cup. Description: Jade cup; carved from nephrite and polished; inscribed with the name Ulugh-Beg Kuragan, with later (Ottoman) silver repair. Periods: Timurid dynasty, Ottoman dynasty (repair). Production date: 1420-1449. Production place: made in: Samarkand (?), Asia: Central Asia: Uzbekistan: Samarkand. Technique: carved; polished; engraved. Dimensions: height: Height: 7.30 centimetres, width: Width: 19.50 centimetres. depth: Depth: 12.40 centimetres. (Photos: Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-CompartirIgual 4.0 Internacional (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)/ British Museum)
Object Type: Book. Description: Book on 10 leaves, engraved with two dragons and inscriptions in Chinese and Manchu recording the change of posthumous name of the Empress. Dated. Made of engraved jade, strung on flat yellow cord, with yellow silk binding and four rectangles of yellow silk woven with design in gold thread (to act as padding between the book leaves). Producer: Name Calligrapher: Qianlong Emperor 乾隆皇帝. Cultures/periods: Qianlong. Production date: 1736.
Production place: Made in: Beijing (city), Asia: China: Beijing (municipality): Beijing (city). Materials: Jade silk. Technique: engraved. Dimensions: Length: 29.20 centimetres; Width: 12.70 centimetres (each leaf). (Photos: Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-CompartirIgual 4.0 Internacional (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)/ British Museum).
Jade book inscriptions
Inscription language: Chinese; Inscription script: Chinese.
Inscription content: 維乾隆元年歲次丙辰三月乙未朔越十一日乙巳 孝孫嗣皇帝臣弘曆謹稽首再拜 上言 功同厚載襄治化于 昌朝 禮重鴻稱耀 徽音于寶冊夙合二儀之撰聿垂奕葉之光欽惟 孝誠恭肅正位安和俪天襄聖仁皇後
Inscription transliteration: Wei Qianlong Yuannian suici bingchen sanyue yiwei shuoyue shiyi ri yisi Xiaosun si huangdi chen Hong Li jin jishou zaibai Shangyan gongtong houzai xiangzhi huayu changchao Lizhong hongcheng yao huiyin yu baoce suhe eryi zhi zhuanyu chui yiye zhiguang qin wei Xiao cheng gong su zheng wei an he li tian xiang sheng ren Huanghou
Inscription translation: This is the 12th day of the 3rd month [the month of yiwei] of the year of bingchen [AD 1736], the first year of Qianlong, at the time of yisi [ca. 0930 am]. The dutiful grandson and the succeeding Emperor Hongli did obeisance with respects again and told to Empress of “Xiaocheng Gongsu Zhengwei Anhe Litian Xiangsheng Ren”, who has made great contribution to the prosperous dynasty and whose virtues will be forever remembered by offspring –
Inscription note: Page 1 Translation by Chen Yi, Oxford University, July 2010.
Inscription content: 性秉溫柔 範垂莊肅 潔蘋蘩于 九廟祭祀加虔 奉滫瀡于重闱晨昏致謹孝慈育物椒庭之令則宏昭誠敬持躬蘭殿之芳 徽允播勞心阃阈常分 宵盱之憂勤贊化宮闱克佐升平之治理溯仁風之已遠彤管方
Inscription transliteration: Xing bing wengong fan chui zhuangsu jie ping fan yu jiumiao jisi jiaqian feng xiusui yu gongwei chenhun zhijin xiaoci yuwu jiaoting zhi ling ze hongzhao chengjing chigong landian zhi fang hui yun bo laoxin kunyu changfen xiaoxu zhi youqin zanhua gongwei kezhu shengping zhi zhiling su renfeng zhi yi yuan tongguang fang
Inscription translation: “The Empress has been submissive and dignified. Her conscientiousness in offerings to ancestors, being an example in the palace and assisting the Emperor was just like the great (kindhearted) manner in the ancient time. Her manner greatly honours the womenfolk.
Inscription note: Page 2. Translation by Chen Yi, Oxford University, July 2010.
Inscription content: 輝緬 懿誨之長垂瑤函正煥欽承丕緒值典禮之維新式考彜章方顯 揚之莫罄謹奉冊寶增上尊益曰 孝誠恭肅正位安和俪淑懿天襄聖仁皇後伏冀 淑靈式庇 嘉德惟馨永贻昌熾之庥益佑和恒之福謹言
Inscription transliteration: hui mian yihui zhi changchui yaohan zhenghuan qnicheng pixu zhi dianli zhi weixin shikao yizhang fang xian yang zhi moqin jinfeng cebao zeng shangzun yue Xiaocheng gongsu zhengwei hanhe lishu yitian xiangsheng ren Huanghou fuji Shulingshipi Jiade weixin yongyi changchi zhi xiu yiyou heheng zhi fu jinyan
Inscription translation: and her teaching will be remembered. A ceremony will be given to change her posthumous title into the Emperor of ‘Xiaocheng Gongsu Zhengwei Anhe Li Shu Yi Tian Xiang Sheng Ren’, so that her greatness will be manifested. May us always have the kind and peaceful blessing from her. ”
Inscription note: Page 3 Translation by Chen Yi, Oxford University, July 2010.
Inscription type: inscription
Inscription language: Manchu
Inscription script: Manchu
Inscription note: 5 pages in Manchu script follow the 3 pages written in Chinese.
Source: British Museum