Common Knowledge of Chinese Culture

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Jade

The mineral held in the highest estimation in China is jade. Under the name of yu, the Chinese not only include the three varieties of the silicate of alumina called jade, nephrite, and jadeite by mineralogists, they also apply the same term to a number of different stones. Sonorousness and color are the two qualities which enhance its value, the best coming from Yunnan. It is also supplied to China by the Burmese mines. A greenish-white color is the most highly prized. The Chinese look upon jade as emblematical of most the virtues; and form the excessive admiration they have for it, it is natural that they should have largely used it their ceremonious language. For example, in addressing a man, his daughter is styled "a jade girl," his hand is "a jade hand", "a jade foot" means his coming or "I hope you will transfer your jade" means "I hope you will come," etc.

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