Hotan Jade

March 3, 2018
uyghur arts crafts
Hotan, located in the southwest of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in Northwest China, once known as the State of Yutian, is an important stop on the Silk Road  . It is dominated by a dry continental desert climate; hot in summer and not too cold in winter; great temperature disparity between day and night with little rainfall and a high evaporation rate.

The local highlights are: Hotan jade, Hotan sheep, Hotan silk, Hotan carpet. Xinjiang food has much more of a Central Asian flavor to it than a Chinese taste. Hotan is one of the best cities in the region to sample authentic Xinjiang cuisine and there are literally thousands of tiny Uygur restaurants dotted about the place serving up local specialties. However, it has been most famous for its exquisite, high quality of Hotan jade products. In history, the king of the State of Yutian always sent jade presents to the rulers in the inland as tribute. The major deposits of Hotan jade are tucked away deep in the lofty Kunlun Mountains.

Hotan jade is noted for its whiteness and flawlessness. In Chinese historical records, jade can be classified into white, green, blue, yellow and black, etc. and the white one is the most precious. Among the various Hetian jade, the most famous are suet jade, black jade, and jadeite. The suet jade, the best kind of white jade, is a soft and pearly white as its name “suet” suggests. While the black jade is a shining jet black. The two kinds of jade are rare materials and are used to make jade ornaments like finger rings, bracelets, seals, and curios. The jadeite, with its emerald color, is even more valuable.

This region was so abundant in Hetian jade that people in the past could easily find it on the ground. But now people have to climb to the snow-covered mountain peaks to find some, as not much is left on ground after so many years of exploration. Most of the jade is now gone, with only a few kilos of good quality jade found yearly, which makes the jade even more valuable. The major deposits of Hotan jade are tucked away deep in the lofty Kunlun Mountains. It has made inaccessible to the public in the past. Previously people had to search for the lumps of rough jade, which were carried down by summer torrents to the foot of mountains or to the adjacent plains. It became a custom to look for precious stones on flood land.

In August 2005, the Hetian Jade Trading Centre was opened. The center is located at Renmin Road in the prime area of Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital. With its pleasant shopping environment, it is an ideal place to appreciate and purchase Hotan jade.