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Jade craftsmanship helps carve out more opportunities

By Yang Feiyue and Shi Baoyin | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-20 06:32
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Known for its long history in processing, Zhenping county hopes to integrate culture and tourism, Yang Feiyue and Shi Baoyin report.

Just when the dawn breaks, hundreds of umbrellas pop open as in a domino effect at the International Jade City in Shifosi town in early June. Beneath them, vendors tout a large variety of jade, ranging from necklaces and bracelets to decorative sculptures of various shapes and sizes. Some vigorously engage in livestreaming to broadcast what they have to offer to potential buyers from afar.

Although the market opens at around 6 am, eager early bird customers have already flocked in to hunt for treasures in the town of Zhenping county, Nanyang city, Central China's Henan province.

"It (the market) is only the tip of the iceberg," says Song Zhe, director of the management committee of Zhenping's jade culture reform and development pilot zone.

The county abounds in jade design and processing businesses, involving about 400,000 practitioners, Song says.

Nearly 50 villages in Zhenping have developed specialized jade carving operations, and 10 large-scale jade trade markets dot the county.

The jade-carving workforce accounts for 70 percent of all jade workers nationwide, making Zhenping the country's largest jade carving and sales hub, according to local authorities.

"You can find practically all kinds of good jade materials here," Song says, adding that the most popular ones are Hetian, Lantian and Dushan jades.

In particular, Dushan jade is made out of raw materials that used to be mined about 40 kilometers away from Nanyang's Wolong district.

"The biggest feature of Dushan jade is its rich color, with seven major colors and more than 100 transitional ones, making it perfect for intricate multicolored jade artworks," Song says.

Although Zhenping does not produce jade, it has been widely known for its jade carvings for thousands of years.

"We have the Zhaohe River, whose upper reach is rich in hard sand, which comes in handy for jade processing," Song says.

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