Significance of Jade in Tool Use
European and Asian civilization are well-known for their gemstone culture. Notable cultures such as the Greek, Roman, as well as the Chinese used gems as barter
and as symbols of wealth and status. Prior to that, prehistoric people in Europe and Asia used jade to make axes, scrapers and other miscellaneous weapons because it was found to be suitable for tough work. This was due to the extreme toughness and strength of jade. In fact, ancient European civilization mirrored the ancient Chinese civilization, although to a lesser degree, in its regard for these "stones of heaven".
Though Jade culture had existed in Ancient Europe, jade was only primarily used as tools and weapons. As the Bronze Age and the Iron Age approached, more suitable materials became available, and the Europeans slowly abandoned the use of Jade. Interestingly enough, the Chinese culture chose to use jade for more ornamental and ritualistic purposes once the need for jade as tools declined.
The manufacture of Chinese Jade articles were already highly developed by the Shang Dynasty. (1751 B.C - 1111 B.C) By the end of the Zhou Dynasty (11th Century B.C - 222 B.C) and the beginning of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C - 220 A.D), chinese jades reached a second peak in their development. Craftsman had at their disposal , more advanced tools and efficient methods of polishing jade and created masterpieces.
Beyond maintaining its historical role, jade artistry has been further developed with creativity and skill, and remains an eternal symbol of China's magnificent civilization, a testimony to China's culture and sense of aesthetics.
History of Jade