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Chinese Art China has the worlds oldest living civilization Its written history goes back almost 3500 years and the history told by its artifacts and artwork goes back much farther The oldest known works of Chinese art include pottery and jade carvings from the time of 5000 BC Jade is a general term used to describe either jadeite or nephrite known as true jade Its composed of several minerals Its smooth and rich in texture but its also extremely tough It can be off-white or dark green and sometimes has a reddish tint Authentic jade is cool and never translucent The philosopher Confucius described jade perfectly when he said It is soft smooth and shining- like intelligence Its edges seem sharp but do not cut- like justice It hangs down to the ground- like humility When struckm it gives clear ringing sounds- like music The strains in it are not hidden and add to its beauty- like truthfulness It has brightness- like heaven Its firm substance is born of the mountains and the waters- like the earth The material has been used since the Shang dynasty which lasted from 1766-1022 BC They see it as a sign of wealth and authority and also as an object of beauty The chinese word for jade is yu During the Ming dynasty the Chinese people thought that only green or white stones were true jade and the other colors were called fu yu or false jade It was classified into nine different colors during the Tsin dynasty and has more recently been classified into many different categories Jade is one of the touchest stones in the world near the diamond because of overlapping fibers within the stone Tons of pressure are needed to crush some of the larger pieces of jade A single cut through a one foot cube of jade would take several weeks The ancient chinese people thought that jade had special powers
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