The story appears on

Page B16

November 29, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Butterfly reflects gold, jade craft

THE gold medals made for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in both gold and jade won compliments around the world last year for their design.

Their looks were inspired by the Chinese traditional handicraft called "jin xiang yu," which means gold inlaid with jade.

In Chinese culture, the matching of gold and jade is regarded as an auspicious symbol that brings fortune, power or a happy marriage, and it also represents honor and high social status.

Craftworks done in the "jin xiang yu" style were usually owned by royal families in ancient China.

The style, dating back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), thrived in the Ming (1368-1644) and early Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

The technique was lost by the end of the Qing Dynasty but was regained fortunately in the middle of last century.

Among all the exhibits at the Shanghai Museum, a butterfly (pictured below) made by the technique of "jin xiang yu" is one of the most eye-catching items.

The butterfly piece, discovered in the Ming tomb of a poet named Zhu Chaqin on Shanghai's Liyuan Road, is a strikingly vivid and exquisite piece.

The jade body and wings of the butterfly with fading variegated lime color, and the glittering gold frame around the insect's shape reflect the characteristics and spirit of both materials, glittering as gold and graceful as jade.

Three rubies are set on the apexes of the gold frame and define the stately nature of the piece which looks suitable for a woman's brooch.

The butterfly's wings are spread in full-flight formation with the antennae outstretched.

And the winkles on the butterfly's tail are a very good example of the careful craftwork and expertise that were used to create the piece.

(Zhao Dan)


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend