Linking the Style and Technology of Jade Carvings in China: The Hongshan Culture to the Modern Era

This event is postponed. Details will be announced in due course. Please stay tuned.


Through research into the characteristics of tool marks preserved on hard stone artefacts, Margaret Sax developed a methodology for the identification of ancient carving methods based on optical and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Her specialization arose from a project to identify the materials of more than two thousand near Eastern cylinder seals (about 3500-400 BC), which led to an investigation of the tools and techniques used to engrave the hardest, quartz seals. The study resulted in a radical reassessment of the date for the introduction of the jeweller’s wheel in Mesopotamia. The methodolgy has since been applied to the carving of nephrite jade in China, a tradition spanning seven millennia. In this lecture, connections will be drawn between the ancient jade engraving techniques of the Hongshang culture and jade carving in China today.

The lecture is presented by Margaret Sax of the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research in the British Museum.

This event is postponed. Details will be announced in due course. Please stay tuned.