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Special Exhibitions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carving
Stone carving is one of the oldest arts in China, its beginnings dating back to remote antiquity. Although jade, the mineral nephrite, was held in the highest esteem, all stones that could achieve a luster after polishing, be it agate, turquoise, malachite, chalcedony, quartz, jasper, or lapis lazuli, were also appreciated. Stone carving experienced an efflorescence during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), when an abundant supply of raw materials, exceptionally accomplished craftsmen, and, in particular, keen imperial patronage contributed to the creation of numerous superb works.