April 24, 2022
2 minute read

Radiant & Eternal: Chinese Jades from the Permanent Collection

Chinese, 19th–20th century, Incense Burner in the form of a Bronze Ritual Vessel, n.d.. Nephrite, 8 1/8 x 5 1/2 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Eugenia and Kathleen King, 2021.14.18.

The Crocker Art Museum is pleased to announce Radiant & Eternal: Chinese Jades from the Permanent Collection on view from April 24 – November 13, 2022. More than fifty objects from the Crocker’s permanent collection come together in this exhibition to showcase jade, one of the most revered and treasured materials in the history of artmaking in China. Both nephrite and jadeite, the two main crystalline stones called yu by the Chinese, are represented in this exhibition, which includes selections from a recent gift of 19th to 20th century jade vessels and sculptures from the collection of Eugenia and Kathleen King, as well as jades for personal use and adornment that entered the Crocker’s collection throughout the 20th century and beyond.

"Radiant & Eternal features some of the first Chinese objects to enter the museum's collection via Jennie Crocker Fassett, who acquired jade sculptures and scholar's objects during her travels in Asia in the early 20th century. Also on view are exquisite jade vessels gifted to the museum in the late 20th and early 21st century that showcase the skill of Chinese jade artisans. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to enjoy these objects for their beauty, as well as for the symbolic well wishes that many of them carry," notes Amelia Kit-Yiu Chau, Adjunct Curator, Asian Art.

Early Chinese jades were painstakingly ground and polished into ornaments, ritual weapons, and implements for use in burials and religious ceremonies, as it was believed to offer protection and preserve life. Many later jades were revivals of classic bronze ritual vessel forms, while others were decorative or functional objects prized by scholars and collectors for everyday use and enjoyment.

Whether it is fashioned into impressive vessels or small-but-exquisite accessories, jade has been loved for centuries for its symbolic meanings as well as for its beauty. It is a material that has fascinated and inspired Chinese artists and collectors up to the present day, and this exhibition brings to light the fine art of Chinese jades and a culture’s enduring reverence for it.