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Magnificent, Intricate Eighteen Carat 2,000 Year Old Elaborately Hand-Carved Ancient Jade Pendant & Chain.

CLASSIFICATION: Hand Cut Semi-Precious Jade Pendant, Hand-Drilled Suspension Hole (Bow/Spin Drill).

ATTRIBUTION: Ancient China, Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD).

SIZE/DIMENSIONS:

Weight: 18.05 carats.

Diameter: 13 millimeters.

Chain: Contemporary gold electro-plated 60 centimeters (24 inches). Other chains available including sterling silver and 14kt gold in various lengths.

CONDITION: Exceptional! Completely intact.

DETAIL: A hand carved jade pendant about 2,000 years old attributable to the Han Dynasty of ancient China, about 1st century B.C. What lapis lazuli, carnelian, and turquoise was to the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean and Mesopotamia, including the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Sumerians, and Babylonians; jade was to the ancient Chinese. It was the gemstone of gemstones, its name synonymous with "gold" in other languages. "Good as gold"; "the golden age", such expressions would have used the word "yu", for jade, rather than the word gold. This pendant is a large sphere with quite elaborate carvings, drilled by hand using a "spin" or "bow" drill. Given the fact it is carved from a single piece of jade, and is of such delicate and intricate character, it is truly an exceptional piece of ancient art. This extraordinary pendant has been mounted onto a twenty-four inch 14kt gold electroplated chain. If you would prefer, we also have available sterling silver and solid 14kt gold chains.

HISTORY: In the Orient today jade is highly valued in the production of jewelry, the most common colors being white and green. However jade has always been prized by the Chinese and Japanese as the most precious of all stones. The most beautiful specimens of carved jade in the form of ornamental pieces, such as vases, bowls, tablets, and statues, many of which are now museum pieces, were made in China. Both cultures traditionally associated jade with the five cardinal virtues; charity, modesty, courage, justice, and wisdom. Since at least 2950 B.C., jade has been treasured in China as the royal gemstone, "yu". The word "yu" is used in Chinese to call something precious, as in English we use the term "golden". Jade was believed to preserve the body after death and can be found in emperors' tombs from thousands of years ago. One tomb contained an entire suit made out of jade, to assure the physical immortality of its owner.

The Chinese have valued this gemstone more than any other, using it for currency, ceremonial vessels, and marriage bowls. Besides the fact that jade was used to produce great works of art, it was used as well as for medicinal purposes. In the Neolithic the Chinese were carving jade into tools and simple cult objects (amulets). By about 1800 B.C., they began making small carved ornamental plaques with decorative designs of animals. The introduction of iron tools (about 500 B.C.) made more intricate carvings possible, and jade began to be made into a wide variety of utilitarian and luxury objects, such as belt hooks and ornaments, sword and scabbard accoutrements, hollow vessels, and, most importantly, sculpture in the round. Jade was extremely valuable in ancient China. A particularly valuable piece owned by one ruler might be coveted by another, and entire cities were often exchanged for possession of a single jade carving.

The craft of jade carving in China attained maturity toward the close of the Chou dynasty in 255 B.C., with designs of unsurpassed excellence and beauty. Even Confucius expounded on the virtues of jade. "Like Intelligence, it is smooth and shining. Like Justice, its edges seem sharp but do not cut. Like Humility, it hangs down toward the ground as a pendant. Like Music, it gives a clear ringing sound. Like Truthfulness, it does not hide its faults--and this only adds to its beauty. Like the Earth, its firmness is born of the mountain and the water." Ageless, beautiful jade, truly fulfills the definition of one of mankind's most ancient of treasures. Join the procession of 5,000 years, own a piece for yourself today!

Aside from its well-known historical popularity in Asia, jade was widely used for tools and weapons by primitive people, especially in Mexico, Switzerland, France, Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor, and New Zealand. Jade was worked into implements by Neolithic peoples in many parts of the world. The best-known finds are from the lake dwellings of Switzerland, western France, and China. The source for Neolithic jade in Europe remains undiscovered, but it was probably from a deposit in the Alps. Jade is very hard and was prized for keeping a sharp edge. The Aztecs, Mayas, and other Pre-Columbian peoples of Mexico and Central America carved jadeite for use as ornaments, amulets, and badges of rank. Nearly all of these Meso-American jades are of various shades of green, with emerald green the most highly prized color among the Aztecs. The jade carvings range from plaques, figurines, small masks, pendants, to of course, tools and weapons.

HISTORY OF ANCIENT CHINESE JADE: Want to know a little more about the history of jade carving in ancient China? Click right here.

HISTORY OF THE HAN DYNASTY: The History of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 220 A.D.) actually begins in 221 B.C. when the western frontier state of Qin (Ch'in), the most aggressive of the Warring States, subjugated the last of its rival states, bringing the era of the Warring States to an end. For the first time most of what eventually came to be "China" was unified. The new Qin (Chin) King proclaimed himself a deity, and ruthlessly imposed a centralized nonhereditary bureaucratic system throughout the empire, establishing standardized legal codes, bureaucratic procedures, written language, and coinage. In an effort to even standardize thought and scholarship many dissenting Confucian scholars were banished or executed; their books confiscated and burned. To fend off barbarian intrusion, the fortification walls built by the various warring states were connected to make a 5,000-kilometer-long great wall. When the powerful emperor of Ch'in died, he was entombed in a massive burial mound. Recently excavated the royal grave revealed an army of more than 6,000 terra-cotta human figures and horses intended to protect the emperor's final resting place.

In ancient China his death was followed by a short civil war and the emergence of the Han Dynasty. The new empire retained much of the Qin administrative structure but retreated from the harsh and centralized rule by establishing vassal principalities in many areas. Confucian ideals of government were reinstated, and once again Confucian scholars gained prominent status as the core of the civil service. Intellectual, literary, and artistic endeavors revived and flourished. Technological advances included the invention of paper and porcelain. The Han Empire expanded westward, making possible relatively secure caravan traffic across Central Asia to Antioch, Baghdad, and Alexandria. Often called the "silk route", it enabled the export of Chinese silk to the Roman Empire. The Earlier Han reached the zenith of its power under Emperor Wu Ti, who reigned from 140 to 87 BC. Almost all of what today constitutes China was under imperial rule.

HISTORY OF ANCIENT CHINESE CIVILIZATION: Want to know a little more about the history of human civilization in ancient China? Click right here.

SHIPPING: These antiquities come from a number of collections which by and large originated here in Eastern Europe. As well, additional specimens are occasionally acquired from other institutions and dealers, principally in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. All of these artifacts are now in the United States and are available for immediate delivery via U.S. Mail. All purchases are backed by an unlimited guarantee of satisfaction and authenticity. If for any reason you are not entirely satisfied with your purchase, you may return it for a complete and immediate refund of your entire purchase price. A certificate of authenticity (COA) is available upon request.

Our order fulfillment center near Seattle, Washington will ship your purchase within one business day of receipt of your personal check or money order. If you wish to pay electronically, we accept both PayPal and BidPay. However we ask that you PLEASE WAIT before remitting until we have mutually agreed upon method of shipment and shipping charges and you understand our PayPal limitations and policies (stated here). We will ship within one business day of our receipt of your electronic remittance.

A certificate of authenticity (COA) is available upon request. We prefer your personal check or money order over any other form of payment - and we will ship immediately upon receipt of your check (no "holds"). Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."