The Qing Dynasty was the final imperial dynasty in China, lasting from 1644 to 1912. It was an era noted for its initial prosperity and tumultuous final years, and for being only the second time that China was not ruled by the Han people.
Under the patronage of the jade-loving Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795) of the Qing dynasty, jade carvings enjoyed unprecedented growth, which was also supported by the steady inflow of raw materials from Hotan (Hetian) after His Majesty conquered the Uygur region of Eastern Turkistan in 1760. As the jade industry thrived, some interesting diversifications also emerged: the market’s taste diverging from the imperial preference, elegance and vulgarity coexisting, and the retro clashing with the trend. All added to the fun and richness of the period looks.
After the Qianlong zenith of refinement, the most significant development of Chinese jade art was the very concept about “jade”. For 7000 years, jade to Chinese had always meant creamy, tender nephrite with its quiet beauty, whereas now jadeite arrived in its dazzling emerald green, soon capturing the hearts of modern Chinese. Today, both nephrite and jadeite remain extremely popular among the Chinese people.