Chinese jade (Room 33b)

The Selwyn and Ellie Alleyne Gallery
About 5000 BC – present

In China, jade has been a material of the highest value since ancient times, prized for its beauty and magical properties. The objects on display in this exquisite gallery, reopening after a major refurbishment, illustrate the history of the exotic stone. Translucent yet tough, jade was worked into ornaments, ceremonial weapons and ritual objects by Chinese craftspeople.

Most of the jades on show here are on loan from the collection of Sir Joseph Hotung and demonstrate many different types of workmanship. They range from long, smooth Neolithic blades to later plaques, ornaments, dragons, human sculptures and intricate eighteenth century pendants. The refurbished gallery also now includes new acquisitions of contemporary jades, to bring the story up to the present.

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