This jadeite cabbage is a masterpiece, 7.4′ inches long by 3.6 inches wide by 2 inches deep. It was a present to the Empress in 1889, sculpted by an anonymous artist. Chang Lituan, the curator of the collection, explains: Rather than letting the stone’s flaws be a deterrent, the artist used cracks in the jade as leaf edges, then carefully incorporated the natural color variations of the stone into the cabbage design.
Jadeite is among the hardest stones in the world. To work it, the creator had to painstakingly grind away using the sand of even harder rocks, like rubies or garnets. If you look closely, you’ll see two small grasshoppers on top of the cabbage.
- Traditionally, a jade masterwork is typically flawless, cut from a stone without cracks or variations in color. But, this piece is apart from a long tradition of idealized perfection in jade carving.
- This masterpiece is not located in China, but in Taipei, Taiwan. Among 696,112 imperial treasures in the Palace Museum in Taipei, this little Jadeite cabbage is the most famous item.
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