Great Jade Road

Великий Шелковый путь, Великий нефритовый путь, нефрит

Since everyone knows about the Great Silk Road. And someone may even remember the dates of his life. May be those who will tell you about the routes, and that this name was given to it in 1877 by German historian K. Richthofen in his book on China. But before the advent of the Great Silk Road there was no link between Asia and Europe? 

We would like to remind you that the beginning of the Great Silk road was the journey of Zhang Qian, committed on the orders of Emperor U-di in the 2nd century BC. Is humanity made no attempt to discover what is beyond the horizon? 

Have you heard about the Jade road? 

Jade road was a predecessor of the Great Silk Road, and much older. It originates from the time of the Neolithic (5th Millennium BC), when people did not know of metals, and in fact has not yet tamed the horse. Then jade was mined, mainly in the area of Lake Baikal, and today archaeologists find it even on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Jade path walked in the latitudinal direction from Irkutsk to the West. As well as the Great Silk Road, which had many branches in the South of modern Kazakhstan, Jade road had numerous branches in Northern Kazakhstan.

Some researchers believe that the "masters" of the Jade road during the bronze age (III-II Millennium BC) firstly were the tribes of Andronians and later Scythians. By the way, in the Scythian burials in Altai VI-V centuries BC found products made of silk. It appears, that well before the start of the Silk Road the silk was transported on the Jade road.

Великий Шелковый путь, Великий нефритовый путь, нефрит

Jade moved thousands of kilometres, before there were no wagons, not draught cattle. People struggled the huge expanses on foot, bearing not only goods, but also food, and tools or weapons. Undoubtedly, on tracks had to be trans-shipment points - settlements. It can be assumed that the famous network of cities, known under the name of city of Arkaim, was developed just due to the Jade road.

The peoples of Central Asia, jade and jasper were the Mystic stones-mascots. Rings, bracelets and even a variety of tools were made from jade. It later became one of the favourite stones of peoples of South-East Asia. Jade is widely used for manufacturing of household items and a religious cult. Highly valued figurines, which served as objects of worship, fetishes, which accompanied people during life on Earth and in the underworld.

Jade (in Chinese is pronounced as "Yuy" - meaning "most beautiful stone") was considered a Royal jewel in China. Veneration of jade found in the annals of the early China dynasties. Sometimes jade is called "the national stone of China". Every home must have the product of jade. Golden age the art of stone carving in China has reached in the XVII-XVIII centuries.

One of the most ancient Chinese historical sources - "Narrative of the son of heaven, Moo (presumably not later than the beginning of the I Millennium BC) describes a two-year journey of Moo-Wan (the semi-legendary ruler of the Zhou House) to the West to meet with "Western Lady” Sivanmu. Where the meeting was taken place is unknown. Modern researchers called the place - Lake Zaysan, and the Caspian Sea, and the area between the Amudarya  and Syrdarya.

Великий Шелковый путь, Великий нефритовый путь, нефрит

Doubtless, it is on its way to 24 thousand li (about 12 thousand km.) Mu-van for 730 days crossed the vastness of modern Kazakhstan. So, the speed of advance is closer to 16.5 km per day (remember that Caravan day journey along the Great Silk Road is a 25 km). For the conditions of the time speed caravan of Mu-Wan simply amazing high, indicating a well functioning system of roads. At least, no worse than the Great Silk Road.

Later Chinese had mined jade on their territory. Since the twelfth century BC minefields developed in Northeast of China, which was then in the form of raw materials and products spread to the West. Later, already on the Great Silk Road. Maybe more correct title it "the Great Jade Road"?

It is possible that Mu-van was looking for not only (and not so much) jade, but also something else. Owner of the Jade Mountain - Sivanmu was endued with incredible abilities. On the one hand she is forever young "Queen of country of immortals having the elixir of immortality", healer, and, on the other hand she caught the fever and other diseases.

In Chinese chronicles on information about mythical rulers also assigned a title - "Jade". Supreme deity -"Heavenly Jade Emperor", and it does not mean that he is made of jade. It is possible that it is the Temple of Sivanmu which was looking Chingiz Khan at the Altai, wanting to obtain immortality. Maybe that's why Chingiz Khan ordered to bury him in the Altai Mountains, in a place where he unsuccessfully searched the Temple of immortality, to immortalize his soul after death?

And maybe, the Temple still will be found, but in this century?


Великий Шелковый путь, Великий нефритовый путь, нефрит

Our reference

The Mongols had a saying: "If you unrestraingly carried to somewhere, if in your heart there are resentment and anger, don't let those passions flare up. Take in your palms white and slippery tsagaan khash (Jade), squeeze it tighter, and it will calm you".

Jade - is hydroxy-silicate of calcium, magnesium, iron, which has a variety of colours. The sacred stone of ancient China. “The properties of this stone are unique and encourage people to change their behaviour, entity. Jade is the engine of our behaviour. It will darken in human hand, persevering in his errors,"- say the Chinese sources.

Jade is credited with the ability to protect the wearer from supernatural forces, to ensure the longevity and family well-being. Jade jewellery in silver rim will protect from an evil eye. Red jade protects its owner from natural disasters, lightning, earthquakes and fires.

Jade tiles with corresponding inscriptions served as the aristocracy of its holder. Among graves of the Far East, archaeologists have found sarcophagus, belted by Jade plates (their numbers sometimes reaching several thousand).

Великий Шелковый путь, Великий нефритовый путь, нефрит

From ancient times jade is considered to be a panacea for all diseases. Stone worn on bodies for the treatment and prevention of all ailments. Medieval alchemists and healers used ground to powder jade for the manufacture of various medications or simply recommended to take by mouth, washed down with water. Jade necklaces and bracelets are normalized sleep, relieve insomnia and nightmares.

Jade - stone for people born under the sign of Virgo and Libra. These people it bestows good fortune in business. Jade bracelet, worn on the right hand brings Virgins family happiness, and  is able to prolong life to Libra.

In November 1997 in "Guinness world records" recorded unique find in China, in the County of Szechuan, it is the block of jade weighing 260.76 tons and measuring 7.95 at 6.88 and 4.1 m. Stone, first discovered in 1960, lay, according to the Government, 32 years, when it was used during the construction of a temple.

Author: Vladimir Oskolkov, Associate Professor, Candidate of Historical Sciences

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