A Magnificent Stone; Innovative Craftsmanship
For more than 8,000 years the people of China have treasured jade. Ancient texts describe it as “the fairest stone,” and its beauty and durability have imbued it with numerous cultural and spiritual meanings. The Field Museum invites visitors to experience the quiet power of this remarkable material in The Elizabeth Hubert Malott Hall of Jades.
The Hall of Jades includes more than 450 stunning pieces from the Museum’s collection on display in a chronological order, telling the story of jade in China from prehistoric burials through 2,000 years of empire. From simple funerary tokens to delicately carved incense burners, and even instruments, visitors can see the evolution of jade crafting as different techniques and styles went in and out of fashion from dynasty to dynasty. The exhibition also highlights the importance of jade to other cultures around the world.
In addition to the cultural impact, visitors to the exhibition also discover new aspects of the stone itself. For instance, jade is not one stone, but two different minerals. In addition, the green associated with jade is just one of its many colors. Pieces in the exhibition show jade can be blue, purple, and even white. Visitors can see and touch a huge piece of raw jade, still in its boulder form, and gain a greater appreciation for the skill required to work this sturdy rock into works of art.
The Hall of Jades is a quiet, perfect place to learn about an ancient land and one of its most potent symbols.
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The Elizabeth Hubert Mallott Hall of Jades, gift of the Malott Family Foundation