Cutting and Carving Jade

  • Paul E. Desautels


Because only Chinese jade carving has continued to develop through the centuries up to our own time, it offers the longest uninterrupted picture of how jade carving might have evolved elsewhere if it had been continued. A jade carving tradition was well established in China by the time of the Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C. to 1027 B.C.). Rotary drills and tools were in common use during the western Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 8 A.D.). The tradition burst into its most ornate period in the 1700s and 1800s. Great quantities of fine carvings, many of extraordinary size, eventually poured out of the studios of Emperor Ch ’ien Lung in the middle to late 1700s.


Diamond Grit Metal Tool Rotary Drill Flexible Shaft Shang Dynasty 
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© Van Nostrand Reinhold Company Inc. 1986

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  • Paul E. Desautels

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