Home Events Lü Dalin and Jades of the Song Dynasty



Online Event


09 Mar 2021


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Lü Dalin and Jades of the Song Dynasty

This special lecture is our annual Woolf Jade Lecture, kindly sponsored by Jonathan Woolf and the Woolf Charitable Trust.

Written by Lü Dalin and published in 1092, Kao Gu Tu(《考古圖》)contains 14 ancient jade items and more than 100 ancient bronzes from both imperial and private collections. Its publication marks the rise of archaism in the Song dynasty.

Though unearthed from the cemetery of the Lü family including Lü Dalin, there are only two archaic jade bi discs, and only one seal made of nephrite jade was found; a few bronzes dated Warring States and Han dynasties, as well as a number of ceramics and stone artifacts taking the shape or/and decoration from ancient bronzes reveal the rise of archaism. While stone was used as substitute of jade to produce vessels, qin (磬 a musical instrument) and funeral objects, stones of better quality were selected to make objects for scholars’ studios, such as ink stone, brush rest, and paper weight. This was a significant movement for the prevalence of the use of jades in the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.

Very few jades were unearthed from the tombs of the Northern Song dynasty; however, the number of jades increased significantly since Southern Song. These jades can be categorized into three different types: archaism jade (仿古玉), ornaments with floral and bird decoration, and jade wares imitating gold and silver wares at that time. Some jades belonging to the third type became models for archaism practices during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The Liao and Jin regimes ruled by the nomadic groups co-existed with the Song dynasty. The jades of the Song dynasty had a significant influence on the jades made in the Liao and Jin dynasties though the latter are unique with distinguishing features.

Jonathan Woolf regrets that it will not be possible to allow OCS members to view his jade collection on 9th March 2021, due to continuing Covid restrictions. 

The Oriental Ceramic Society
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