Thursday, November 19, 2009

the eleven virtues of jade

The wise have likened jade to virtue. For them, its polish and brilliancy represent the whole of purity; its perfect compactness and extreme hardness represent the sureness of intelligence; its angles, which do not cut, although they seem sharp, represent justice; the pure and prolonged sound, which it gives forth when one strikes it, represents music. Its color represents loyalty; its interior flaws, always showing themselves through the transparency, call to mind sincerity; its iridescent brightness represents heaven; its admirable substance, born of mountain and of water, represents the earth. Used alone without ornamentation it represents chastity. The price that the entire world attaches to it represents the truth. To support these comparisons, the Book of Verse says: "When I think of a wise man, his merits appear to be like jade."

Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)

Spent a little time on Wednesday at the bloggers' preview of the National Geographic Terracotta Warriors exhibit in Washington D.C. More pics and thoughts to come. First: Must. Sleep.

circular pendant (5th-6th cent b.c.)

p.s. yeah: I'm not sure that "wise man" counts as number eleven, but Confucius said there were eleven virtues so there have to be eleven virtues, right?

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