East met west in a Jade exhibition at School of Jewellery

Jade pendant. Photo: archive of Yip Chan

This post was originally published on Birmingham Eastside.
Yesterday, 22 October, was the last day of the New Jade & East Meets West Exhibition at the BCU School of Jewellery. In celebration of its 125th year, the school exhibited works of graduates from the far east.

Jade pendant. Photo: archive of Yip Chan
Jade pendant. Photo: archive of Yip Chan

These ten graduates were:

  • Jichang Chai
  • Yip Chan
  • Yung – Tung Chen
  • Fang Fang Qiao
  • You – Hua Hsieh
  • Ling Sum Wong
  • Li-Chu Wu
  • Shuihan Yi
  • Wenxiu Yu
  • Jingwen Zhang

Yip Chan curated the exhibition and says that the idea was for the graduates to “use the western thoughts and techniques they learned towards redesigning an eastern object”, the ping’an pendant.

Part of Yip Chan's work. Photo: Ion Mates
Part of Yip Chan’s work. Photo: Ion Mates

In China it is supposed to bring good luck and fortune; the round shape represents the universe and the sky with which humans have to harmonize. The gemstone which makes it, jade, has more than 10 000 years of history in China and its literal meaning is “beautiful stone”.

“In this industry there are many things to learn, many new technologies and old skills.

“Without passion it’s difficult to carry on.” says Yip.

Also present was a Jadeite carver, Jinwen Liao. He had set shop and laid out his tools to demonstrate the carving of jade. Having started as an apprentice, the master carver founded the unique Jadeite museum in GuangDong, China and is an advocate of traditional jadeite work.

The Jadeite Carver Jinwen Liao on opening night. Photo: archive of Yip Chan.
The Jadeite Carver Jinwen Liao on opening night. Photo: archive of Yip Chan.

From concept development to choice of materials and design, this exhibition had been three years in the making.

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