Exhibition Of Chinese Jade MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   When I was ten, Chinatown seemed like my home away from home. Every so often, my family would take trips there to do grocery shopping and see pieces of our Chinese heritage come together. I always looked for the beautiful and lustrous jade pendants that hung around the necks of everyone from little children to wizened widows. Each had its own unique feature whether hung with a red string or a twenty-four karat gold chain. Somehow this stone had enchanted me, even more than the little plastic figurines that were the rage of boys my age. In a sense, it was a connection with my culture that I had not yet understood growing up in America.

Jade in Chinese is pronounced yu, a smooth and warm sound that reflects the nature of the stone. I have also researched that it has been cherished more than any other stone by Chinese people. Some Confucian scholars even described yu as having the characteristics of a virtuous man: benevolence, justice, courage, and wisdom. Indeed I found that I was not the first to be mesmerized.

I could just picture the jade that was to find its home on my warm chest. It would be carved simply in the image of the Goddess of Mercy, who is the Protectress of Children. The quality would be fit for the holy amulet. After all, this was to be the yu that I would wear while I am alive and the yu that would accompany me to the world beyond.

I never really showed my desire to have a yu because it is not good to want something too much nor is it proper to ask for anything. For an entire year, nearly bursting, I kept the love to myself. Nevertheless, the opportunity arrived when my dear grandmother asked me to choose my own present for the holidays we'd missed together. I replied only by staring at the small jade shop across the street owned by a family friend. For three hours, I sifted through the long display case of jade pieces of every imaginable shape, size, and color. Then I found it, my bao yu, my treasured jade. A true example of Chinese craftsmanship, it was the yu that I had seen in my dreams for one whole year.

Even as I wear it today, I still remember how I kept my feelings inside and how a part of me was reunited. This one piece of jade that had finally found me, my Mother that has found Her son. n

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