Gifts of love in ancient China

Have you ever been caught up in a situation that leaves you clueless on what item to buy for your boyfriend or girlfriend? The ancient Chinese were never baffled by this problem. Here are some classic gifts for lovers during ancient times. Check it out and it may provide you with unique gift ideas.

Jade pendants

a pair of Qing Dynasty jade pendants
 ladies fashion
a pair of Qing Dynasty jade pendants
 ladies fashion

The ancient Chinese usually gave their lovers something small so that they could easily take it everywhere. A jade pendant is a good choice. Moreover, according to old customs, ancient couples sometimes exchanged their jade pendants at their engagement ceremony, so these little jade decorations top the list of ancient love gifts.

Hairpins

a pair of hairpins during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion
A set of hairpins during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion

Hairpins were also a common gift for a man to give his girlfriend in ancient times. An old tradition in China was that women would cut a small lock of hair to give to their beloved at their engagement, so hair decorations symbolize a promise of love.

Comb

a Qing Dynasty comb
 ladies fashion
a Han Dynasty comb
 ladies fashion

There is a beautiful Chinese idiom, “Bai tou xie lao”, meaning the happy couple will be together until their hair turns white. Giving a comb to a loved one is a romantic promise which means “I want to be with you until we get old together”.

Jade bracelet

a pair of jade bracelet during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion
a pair of jade bracelet during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion

Ancient Chinese women loved bracelets so much. It never fails to give a woman a pair of exquisite jade bracelets

Fan pendant

a fan pendant during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion

Ancient Chinese men usually carried folding fans in summer. A fan pendant for the man you loved was a good idea in ancient times.

Hand-made Purse

a set of embroidered purses during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion
a pair of embroidered purses during Qing Dynasty
 ladies fashion

Most ancient Chinese women were good at embroidery. A hand-made embroidered purse for the man they loved represents their true love.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Hairpins in Chinese Culture

 
 Ladies Fashion

Hairpins are an important symbol in Chinese culture. In ancient China, hairpins were worn by all genders, and they were essential items for everyday hairstyling, mainly for securing and decorating a hair bun. Furthermore, hairpins worn by women could also represent their social status.

 
 Ladies Fashion

In Han Chinese culture, when young girls reached the age of fifteen, they were allowed to take part in a rite of passage known as “Ji Li”, or “hairpin initiation” . This ceremony marks the coming of age of young women. Particularly, before the age of fifteen, girls did not use hairpins as they wore their hair in braids, and they were considered as children. When they turned fifteen, they could be considered as young women after the ceremony, and they started to style their hair as buns secured and embellished by hairpins. This practice indicated these young women may now enter into marriage. However, if a young woman hadn’t been consented to marriage before age twenty, or she hadn’t yet participated in a coming of age ceremony, she must attend a ceremony when she turned twenty.

 
 Ladies Fashion

In comparison with “Ji Li”, the male equivalent known as “guan li” or “hat initiation”, usually took place five years later, at the age of twenty. In the 21st century Hanfu Movement, an attempt to revive the traditional Han Chinese coming-of-age ceremonies has been made, and the ideal age to attend the ceremony is twenty years old for all genders.

 
 Ladies Fashion

While hairpins can symbolize the transition from childhood to adulthood, they were closely connected to the concept of marriage as well. At the time of an engagement, the fiancée may take a hairpin from her hair and give it to her fiancé as a pledge: this can be seen as a reversal of the Western tradition, such as the future groom presents an engagement ring to his betrothed. After the wedding ceremony, the husband should put the hairpin back into his spouse’s hair.

 
 Ladies Fashion

Hair has always carried many psychological, philosophical, romantic, and cultural meanings in Chinese culture. In Han ethnicity, people call the union between two people “jie-fa”, literally means “tying hair”. During the wedding ceremony, some Chinese couples exchange a lock of hair as a pledge, while others break a hairpin into two parts, and then, each of the betrothed take one part with them for keeping. If this couple ever get separated in the future, when they reunite, they can piece the two halves together, and this completed hairpin will serve as a proof of their identities as well as a symbol of their reunion. In addition, a married heterosexual couple is sometimes referred to as “jie-fa fu-qi”, an idiom which implies the relationship between the pair is very intimate and happy, just like how their hair has been tied together.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Dudou, the artistic underwear of ancient China

“Dudou”, or bellyband, is a piece of cloth that covers one’s belly. It dates back thousands of years. It was used by Chinese women as an undergarment in ancient times and can be considered China’s most original underwear.

“Red Underwear”, a painting by Liushi Zong
 Chinese clothing

Origin

Dudou was invented by the Chinese somewhen in the 17th century with the sole practical purpose to keep the chest and stomach area warm. It is just a square or rhomboidal piece of cloth with attached straps that were tied around the neck and at the back. It was worn by children, women and men alike to prevent not only cold but, according to some sources, diarrhea as well.

Dudou, early 20th century. The National Museum of Taiwan History
 Chinese clothing

Patterns

“White Rabbit and Fuwa”. This embroidery theme is a symbol of life and fertility
 Chinese clothing

This simple garment worn underneath, however, artistically decorated with embroidery. The embroidery served not just as mere decoration, each figure or pattern had a special meaning. The patterns’ subjects depended on who the dudou was intended for. Those for lovers obviously had love as their theme: romantic stories taken from operas, myths and folklore; those for young women and brides could contain figures of dragon, phoenix and fish as symbols of good luck, happiness and fertility; the patterns used for the bellybands of babies and children often had tiger as their main character who was believed to give protection against evil; dudous for older people could be embroidered with images of tortoise, a symbol of longevity.

Materials

Dudou, late Qing dynasty, satin, silver chain. Embroidery depicts “both husband and wife around the house” story. China National Silk Museum
 Chinese clothing

Traditional dudous were mostly made of silk satin. The straps could be of the same fabric or cotton but those from rich families used gold or silver chains instead.

 
 Chinese clothing

In recent years the dudou has made a come back, as a fashion item as well as an underwear. Nowadays there are different designs of dudou on the Chinese market that can be worn in the streets as a backless top combined with skirts or jeans or at home as a sexy lingerie.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Fashion Timeline of Chinese Women Clothing

Qin and Han Dynasty (221BCE-220AD)

 
 fashion

In the Qin and Han Dynasty, as of old, the one-piece garment remained the formal dress for women. However, it was somewhat different from that of the Warring States Period, in that it had an increased number of curves in the front and broadened lower hems. Close-fitting at the waist, it was always tied with a silk girdle.

Wei and Jin dynasties (220-420AD)

 
 fashion

On the whole, the costumes of the Wei and Jin period still followed the patterns of Qin and Han.

From the costumes worn by the benefactors in the Dunhuang murals and the costumes of the pottery figurines unearthed in Louyang, it can be seen that women’s costumes in the period of Wei and Jin were generally large and loose. The upper garment opened at the front and was tied at the waist. The sleeves were broad and fringed at the cuffs with decorative borders of a different colour. The skirt had spaced coloured stripes and was tied with a white silk band at the waist. There was also an apron between the upper garment and skirt for the purpose of fastening the waist. Apart from wearing a multi-coloured skirt, women also wore other kinds such as the crimson gauze-covered skirt, the red-blue striped gauze double skirt, and the barrel-shaped red gauze skirt. Many of these styles are mentioned in historical records.

Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-581AD)

 
 fashion

During the Wei, Jin and the Southern and Northern Dynasties, though men no longer wore the traditional one-piece garment, some women continued to do so. However, the style was quite different from that seen in the Han Dynasty. Typically the women’s dress was decorated with xian and shao. The latter refers to pieces of silk cloth sewn onto the lower hem of the dress, which were wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, so that triangles were formed overlapping each other. Xian refers to some relatively long ribbons which extended from the short-cut skirt. While the wearer was walking, these lengthy ribbons made the sharp corners and the lower hem wave like a flying swallow, hence the Chinese phrase ‘beautiful ribbons and flying swallowtail’.

During the Southern and Northern Dynasties, costumes underwent further changes in style. The long flying ribbons were no longer seen and the swallowtailed corners became enlarged. As a result the flying ribbons and swallowtailed corners were combined into one.

Sui Dynasty (581-618AD)

 
 fashion

During the period of the Sui and early Tang, a short jacket with tight sleeves was worn in conjunction with a tight long skirt whose waist was fastened almost to the armpits with a silk ribbon. In the ensuing century, the style of this costume remained basically the same, except for some minor changes such as letting out the jacket and/or its sleeves.

Tang Dynasty (618-907AD)

 
 fashion

The Tang Dynasty was the most prosperous period in China’s feudal society. Changan (now Xian, Shananxi Province), the capital, was the political, economic and cultural centre of the nation. Residents in Changan included people of such nationalities as Huihe (Uygur,) Tubo (Tibetan), and Nanzhao (Yi), and even Japanese, Xinluo (Korean), Persian and Arabian. Meanwhile, people frequently travelled to and fro between countries like Vietnam, India and the East Roman Empire and Changan, thus spreading Chinese culture to other parts of the world.

All the national minorities and foreign envoys who thronged the streets of Changan also contributed something of their own culture to the Tang. Consequently, paintings, carvings, music and dances of the Tang absorbed something of foreign skills and styles. The Tang government adopted the policy of taking in every exotic form whether or hats or clothing, so that Tang costumes became increasingly picturesque and beautiful.

Women of the Tang Dynasty paid particular attention to facial appearance, and the application of powder or even rouge was common practice. Some women’s foreheads were painted dark yellow and the dai (a kind of dark blue pigment) was used to paint their eyebrows into different shapes that were called dai mei (painted eyebrows) in general.

In the years of Tianbao during Emperor Xuanzong’s reign, women used to wear men’s costumes. This was not only a fashion among commoners, but also for a time it spread to the imperial court and became customary for women of high birth.

Song Dynasty (960-1279AD)

 
 fashion

The hairstyle of the women of the Song Dynasty still followed the fashion of the later period of the Tang Dynasty, the high bun being the favoured style. Women’s buns were often more than a foot in height.

Women’s upper garments consisted mainly of coat, blouse, loose-sleeved dress, over-dress, short-sleeved jacket and vest. The lower garment was mostly a skirt.

Women in the Song Dynasty seldom wore boots, since binding the feet had become fashionable.

Although historians do not know exactly how or why foot binding began, it was apparently initially associated with dancers at the imperial court and professional female entertainers in the capital. During the Song dynasty (960-1279) the practice spread from the palace and entertainment quarters into the homes of the elite. ‘By the thirteenth century, archeological evidence shows clearly that foot-binding was practiced among the daughters and wives of officials,’ reports Patricia Buckley Ebrey […] Over the course of the next few centuries foot binding became increasingly common among gentry families, and the practice eventually penetrated the mass of the Chinese people.

Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368AD)

 
 fashion

Han women continued to wear the jacket and skirt. However, the choice of darker shades and buttoning on the left showed Mongolian influence.

“After the Mongols settled down in the Central Plains, Mongolian customs and costumes lso had their influence on those of the Han people. While remaining the main costume for Han women, the jacket and skirt had deviated greatly in style from those of the Tang and Song periods. Tight-fitting garments gave way to big, loose ones; and collar, sleeves and skirt became straight. In addition, lighter more serene colours gained preference.

Ming Dynasty (1368-1644AD)

 
 fashion

The clothing for women in the Ming Dynasty consisted mainly of gowns, coats, rosy capes, over-dresses with or without sleeves, and skirts. These styles were imitations of ones first seen in the Tang and Song Dynasties. However, the openings were on the right-hand side, according to the Han Dynasty convention.

The formal dress for commoners could only be made of coarse purple cloth, and no gold embroidery was allowed. Gowns could only in such light colors as purple, green and pink; and in no case should crimson, reddish blue or yellow be used. These regulations were observed for over a decade, and it was not until the 14th year of Hong Wu that minor changes were made.

Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911AD)

 
 fashion

When China fell under Manchurian rule, Chinese men were forced to adopt Manchurian customs. As a sign of submission, the new government made a decree that men must shave their head and wear the Manchurian queue or lose their heads. Many choose the latter.

On the other hand, Chinese women were not pressured to adopt Manchurian clothing and fashions. “Women, in general, wore skirts as their lower garments, and red skirts were for women of position. At first, there were still the “phoenix-tail” skirt and the “moonlight” skirt and others from the Ming tradition. However the styles evolved with the passage of time: some skirts were adorned with ribbons that floated in the air when one walked; some had little bells fastened under them: others had their lower edge embroidered with wavy designs. As the dynasty drew to an end, the wearing of trousers became the fashion among commoner women. There were trousers with full crotches and over trousers, both made of silk embroidered with patters.

The Manchurians attempted several times to eradicate the practice of foot-binding, but were largely unsuccessful. Manchurian women admired the gait of bound women but were effectively banned from practicing food-binding. Hence, a “flower pot shoe” later came into creation and it allowed its wearer the same unsteady gait but without any need for foot-binding.

Republic Era (1912-1949AD)

 
 fashion

Ever since the Tang Dynasty, the design of Chinese women’s costumes had kept to the same straight style: flat and straight lines for the chest, shoulders and hips, with few curves visible; and it was not until the 1920’s that Chinese women came to appreciate ‘the beauty of curves’, and to pay attention to figure when cutting and making up dresses, instead of adhering to the traditional style.

The most popular item of a Chinese woman’s wardrobe in modern times was the qi pao. Originall the dress of the Manchus, it was adopted by Han women in the 1920s. Modifications and improvements were then made so that for a time, it became the most fashionable form of dress for women in China.

Two main factors account for women’s general preference for the qi pao: first, it was economical and convenient to wear.

Women traditionally bound their breasts in the Ming and Qing dynasties with tight fitting vests and continued to do so in the early 20th century.

The vests were called xiaomajia ‘little vest’ or xiaoshan ‘little shirt” “used by Chinese women as underclothing for the upper part of the body. “Doudu [is] a sort of apron for the upper body. In former times the doudu had been worn by everyone, old and young, male and female. The young wore red, the middle-aged wore white or grey-green, the elderly wore black. A little pocket sewn into the top was used by adults to secrete them money and by children their sweets. When a girl got engaged, she would show off her embroidery skills by sending an elaborately worked doudu to her fiancé, decorated with bats for good forturne and pomegranates, symbolizing many sons.

A ban on bound breasts began in 1927, in which the government started advocating for the “Natural Breast Movement”. Despite this, bound breasts still widely continued into the 1930s. The government also banned earrings as it fell under the criteria of deforming the natural body. The 1930s also saw the introduction of the western/French bra come to Shanghai.

The little vest was designed to constrain the breasts and streamline the body. Such a garment was necessary to look comme il faut around 1908, when (as J. Dyer Ball observed): ‘fashion decreed that jackets should fit tight, though not yielding to the contours of the figure, except in the slightest degree, as such an exposure of the body would be considered immodest.’ It became necessary again in the mid-twenties, when the jacket-blouse—a garment cut on rounded lines – began to give way to the qipao. At this stage, darts were not used to tailor the bodice or upper part of the qipao, nor would they be till the mid-fifties. The most that could be done by way of further fitting the qipao to the bosom was to stretch the material at the right places through ironing. Under these circumstances, breast-binding must have made the tailor’s task easier.

Successful eradication of bound feet would not come until the 1949 when the People’s Republic of China came into power.

Republic Era and 21st century

 
 fashion

1950s-1960’s

Under the People’s Republic of China, very few mainland women wore the cheongsam, save for ceremonial attire. Clothing became de-sexualized for mainlanders.

It was the flip side in Hong Kong, as the cheongsam continued its function as everyday wear which lasted until the late 1960s. The cheongsam in the 1950s and 1960s became even tighter fitting to further accentuate feminine curves. Western clothing became the default after the late 1960s, though the cheongsam continued to survive as uniforms for students (who donned a looser and androgynous version), waitresses, brides, and beauty contestants.

21st century

Designers today are creating new forms of the qipao/cheongsam. The fish tail appears to be a current popular trend.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

We co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Women’s Fashion in Tang Dynasty of China

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing’s latest television drama, The Empress of China, has been getting a lot of attention, but not in the way the producers originally hoped.

A still shot from Fan Bingbing’s latest television series The Empress of China.
 ladies fashion

The story, based on the life of China’s first and only female empress, Wu Zetian of the TangDynasty (618-907 AD), was removed from the air after its debut in December due to revealing costumes that emphasized the cleavage of the female characters.

When it returned to the small screen in January, scenes showing the revealing necklines were cut off and replaced by somewhat magnified shots of the actress’ heads.

This move by China’s media watch dog failed to win support among viewers. The majority of them called the cut “unnecessary” as the costumes in the show only resembled what women truly wore during the Tang Dynasty.

So, what was fashion in the Tang Dynasty really like?

Skirt, shirt and a cape

A ceramic figurine of a woman of Tang Dynasty.
 ladies fashion

According to Li Hong, researcher and vice curator at the Henan Museum, skirts, dresses and capes were three major elements in women’s fashion during the Tang Dynasty.

“From historical records, these three items were indispensible for women back then.Women of Tang, regardless of class, also put more thoughts into dressing themselves than we do today.

“Waiting several years for a piece of new clothing to be made was normal. That’s how much people cared about the way they dressed back then,” Li said. As for the exquisite costumes worn in The Empress of China, Li said the costume designers obviously “did their homework”.

The shirt

A ceramic figurine of a woman of Tang Dynasty.
 ladies fashion

Women in the Tang Dynasty often wore long sleeved shirts with narrowing cuffs. As China gained more influence from the West, the width of the sleeves widened, reaching as wide as four Chinese chi, or nearly 130 cm. The collars varied in shapes and sizes, from straight,crossed and round to other possibilities. It was revealing, but not to the extent shown in The Empress of China.

The cape

A painting shows the dress style of women in Tang Dynasty.
 ladies fashion

Capes in the Tang Dynasty were often made with lightweight yarn or silk, and took on the role that a shawl or scarf would do in today’s world. Women often wrapped them around their neck and shoulders, exposing a certain amount of skin, but not too much.

The skirt

Women in the Tang Dynasty always wore skirts, mostly very high at the waist, sometimes even up to the armpits. This was a way to visually elongate the legs.

Hair and makeup

Steps on how women in the Tang Dynasty applied their makeup.
 ladies fashion

Aside from dress, women in the Tang Dynasty also worked hard on doing their makeup. Applying makeup would consist of (at the very least) the following steps:

  1. Apply lead powder (to keep the skin pale as fair skin were regarded as beautiful)

  2. Apply blusher

  3. Draw eyebrows

  4. Apply a flower like pattern in between the brows

  5. Draw two dots on either side of the mouth

  6. Draw a red curved line beside the eyes

  7. Apply lipstick

Women in the Tang Dynasty preferred brightly colored dresses, as surprisingly as it may seem, the trend was to keep the face as simple as possible.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

We co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Chinese Jade

General Introduction

Jade has a history in China of at least four thousand years. Unknown to some, it is found contained within the development of religion and civilization, having moved from the use of decoration on to the others such as the rites of worship and burial. Although other materials like gold, silver and bronze were also used, none of these have ever exceeded the spiritual position that jade has acquired in people’s minds – it is associated with merit, morality, grace and dignity. In the funeral objects of the people of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 24 AD), for example, we can see only high officials were buried with jade articles.

 
 Chinese Jade

Jade has influenced all walks of life. In ancient times, people expressed abstract notions with concrete patterns of Chinese character, which were influenced by Taoism and Buddhism. Jade craftworks were among the most precious and luxurious ones; people wore and decorated rooms to indicate loyalty, elegance, beauty, and eternity. The most popular patterns were: peach (longevity), mandarin duck (love), deer (high official ranks), bat (blessing), fish (affluence), double phoenixes (thriving), bottle (safety), lotus (holiness), bamboo (lofty conduct), and fan (benevolence), etc.

Types of Jade

Jadeite

As early as the 16th century, it was believed to be a precious and hard jade with healing qualities for the human stomach and kidneys. Since it was brought into China during the early Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911), it had been doted on greatly. It contains an iron component which appears red, chromium that appears green, and many other colored types. Known as the ‘king of jade’, it is usually a more expensive type.

 
 Chinese Jade

Nephrite Jade

Nephrite’s robustness is due to the fact it contains tremolite. It also can be divided into several sub-classifications according to color: white, grey, green, topaz, and black jade.

 
 Chinese Jade

In China, the most reputable jade producing area is Hetian in Xinjiang Province. Hetian jade is so hard that it can scratch glass. It has often been found in very huge pieces.

 
 Chinese Jade

Serpentine jade, or Xiu yu in Chinese, is mainly from Xiuyan County in Liaoning Province. Made of many different ingredients, it takes on various appearances: white, yellow, light yellow, pink, green, dark green, light green and so on. This type is usually coloured in various shades of green. Usually serpentine jade is semi-transparent or even opaque like wax.

 
 Chinese Jade

Lantian jade is produced in Lantian County, north of Xian in Shaanxi Province. It was also among the most charming ancient jades, for its rigidity made it easier to be carved into decorations and jewelry by our ancestors. The hue is uneven in colors of yellow or light green.

 
 Chinese Jade

Nanyang County in Henan Province is famous for its abundant Nanyang jade. The ore district is located on an isolated 200 meter high hill, called Dushan Hill (thus its other name of ‘Dushan jade’). It is distinctive for its whimsicality. Among the Nanyang jade artworks, you will find rare purple, blue and red ones.

How to Appreciate and Maintain Jade

Experts believe that, although more expensive, diamonds and gold cannot be compared with jade – it is animated with a soul. They often buy to collect their favorite jade artworks, while people with little knowledge may buy coarse works.

To obtain a real jade article, you should take pains to learn and appreciate it. The criteria lie in the brightness of color and luster, compactness of inner structure, and the delicacy of the craftwork. For example, nephrite creates an oily luster and jadeite creates a vitreous luster. Tiny cracks can lower its value; on real one, air bubbles cannot be seen; the more lenitive the higher quality of jade, and so on.

Having purchased a jade article is just half the process of collecting. It is like a child that needs constant care. Enthusiasts need to work more to maintain this artwork, or blemishes may appear.

First, avoid bumping into hard surfaces as it is delicate. Although sometimes a crack cannot be seen by the naked eye, the interior structure may have been damaged. As time goes on, it will appear and reduce the value of the piece.

Second, protect it from dust or greasy dirt. If tainted, they must be scrubbed with a soft brush and light suds and washed with clean water.

Third, when left unused it is best to store it in a case or box to protect it from being bumped.

Fourth, it should be kept away from perfume, perspiration or chemicals. Its brightness risks corrosion, especially emerald and other high quality jade, so it is better to clean it with a soft cloth after wearing it.

Fifth, do not expose it to sunlight for a long time, or it may expand and the quality will change slightly.

Finally, jade has certain water content so keep it in an area of humidity to protect it from over-drying.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

We co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Traditional Chinese Jewelry Making Techniques

Traditional Chinese jewelry can be made of stone and jade beads and discs, coins, and cord. Chinese jewelry making techniques date back to antiquity. Chinese jewelry is often worn for more than simple ornamentation. Jewelry frequently contains elements of amulets and talismans, with gold often being a form of saving resources for later use.

Chinese Knotting
 Chinese Jewelry

Chinese knots are, in some ways, similar to Celtic knots. Each knot represents a particular traditional Chinese form, and in many cases are representative of Buddhist precepts like the continuation of life. Chinese knotted jewelry usually incorporates a main jade or stone centerpiece and jade, stone, coins or glass beads. The cord from the knots usually is extended upward to make a lanyard for a necklace, but with some bracelet styles the knot or knots are extended around the wrist with a macramé style knot.

Chinese knotting was nearly lost as an art form. In recent years, several books teaching knotting techniques have been released. The cord used in making the knots is readily available at craft or fabric stores.

Chinese Jade
 Chinese Jewelry

Jade is a common material in Chinese jewelry. Jade is usually carved with symbols to bring luck, prosperity and good fortune. Jade is considered protective and is often carved into a solid ring.

Although carving jades is a very specialized skill that often requires years of training, simple cabochons can be made using commonly available lapidary grinders and polishes. A cabochon is an excellent way to show the color and texture of a particularly beautiful piece of jade.

Gold
 Chinese Jewelry

Gold jewelry is viewed as being an investment and store of wealth. Gold is frequently used as a setting for jade and other gemstones.

 Chinese Jewelry

If you are interested in setting jade in gold, look for basket settings at a jewelry-supply store. You may also make a wire-wrap setting using either pure gold or karat gold wire.

 Cloisonné

Cloisonné is a jewelry-making technique where bright colors of enamel are inlaid in a metal base and fired in a kiln. Cloisonné dates back to the 13th century Yuan dynasty. Although cloisonné is used for a variety of items, including bowls and cups, it is a very popular jewelry form. Cloisonné centerpieces are made into pendants, earrings, rings and bracelets.

Premade cloisonné beads are available at bead shops, but you can also make your own. Several companies make inexpensive ovens in which glass and low-temperature ceramics can be melted with brass or bronze wires as separators. With one of these ovens, which operate at a higher temperature than household ovens but not as high as a kiln for most ceramics, simple, but beautiful, cloisonné items can be made.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

We co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!