The Spirit of Jade – The Dialogue Between Man and the Gods at the Dawn of Civilization

Tags: god | jade

In distant times, people fought a difficult battle with nature, suffering from the ravages of the elements and learning how the sun controls all life; the movement of the sun leads to the change of night and day, winter and summer, and it also decides the growth and decay of plants and the survival and well-being of the human race. Life is maintained by the vital energies present throughout the universe. Primitive man therefore believed that heaven, earth, sun moon, mountains, rivers, grass and trees as well as wind, rain, thunder and lightning are the soulful spirits of the gods.


Using bamboo, wood, rock and bone to manufacture tools, they discovered a few tough, immortal and beautiful rocks with a soft, bright luster. Tools made out of these rocks helped them overcome great difficulties. The rock’s luster reminded them of the ray’s of the spring sun which gave life to the earth. Maybe this rock also contained the life-giving vital energy! They gave this rock a beautiful name—Jade.


Our ancestors believed that vital energy enclosed in jade was in direct contact with the gods. Carving it in the shape of the turning universe or the likeness of their ancestors improved its magic powers. As time passed, alliances of villages gradually evolved into nation-like societies. As civilization developed, societies were stratified and social classes took form. Groups of clever shamans able to communicate with the gods took over management of human affairs, making the king their leader. They used jade, through which they communicated with spiritual world, to absorb the wisdom of the gods and communicate with the heavens.


Great distances divided by mountains and rivers, and differences in natural environment led to the creation of many different clan systems in Neolithic China. Although every-day utensils differed due to their different life styles, jade objects used for worship to gods and ancestors contained similarities.


On the plains in eastern China, vessels mainly had lively animal themes, while on the plateaus of western China, they had geometrical patterns. Was it the sea in the east and the high mountains in the west that lead to different mindsets? Why did the populations in these two different regions communicate with the gods with the help of differently designed jade objects? You can Visit website to get more information.  

Jade pig-dragon
The late period of the Hungshan Culture
(approximately 5,500 to 5,000 years ago)
National Palace Museum
White pottery kuei
Late period of Tawenk’ou Culture
(approximately 5,000 to 4,600 years ago)
National Palace Museum