Title: Fascinating Jade: Chinese jade miniatures from four millennia
Duration: 26 August 2022 to 22 January 2023
Institution: Museum Rietberg, Zurich, Switzerland
Softly translucent and with a matte lustre, pleasingly smooth to the touch, and yet harder than steel, made by nature and awakened to life by artisans – no other material was as much loved in China as jade.
Magic properties have been attributed to jade since earliest times. As a funerary object, it lends immortality; as medicine, it promotes health; and as a talisman, it promises good fortune and protection. From the 10th century onwards, archaic jade objects became collectables as the Chinese scholar class considered it benefitting for their social status to boast a collection of antiques. At the same time, jade began to be made into small sculptures measuring only a few centimetres.
The allure of jade culminated in the 18th century. In their designs, craftsmen skilfully exploited the material’s natural qualities such as changes of colour or the presence of inclusions. Objects were designed in the form of animals and plants in all kinds of variations and combinations, with carvers’ imaginations knowing no bounds, their designs revealing breath-taking delicacy. The exhibition features the collection of the Museum Rietberg along with large-format photographs by Felix Streuli that unveil the unsuspected detail of its jade objects.
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