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Jade sculptor Ding Anhui
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Jade has always been an essential part of Chinese culture. The mystery and magic of jade has been long revered by Chinese people going back to ancient times. One man of the present day, remains spellbound by the romance of jade. Ding Anhui has spent thirty years, working magic on raw jade, turning it into breathtakingly sculpted works of art. On today's The List, we explore Ding Anhui's infatuation with the "Stone of Heaven".

Jade has always been an essential part of Chinese culture.

Jade has always been an essential part of Chinese culture.

Jade has been a central element of Chinese material culture for 7000years. The techniques of carving, the functions of objects made from jade, even the values related to jade were established during long ago millennia. The beginnings of jade culture go back to the foundations of China during the epoch extending from the late Neolithic period to the earliest age of empires.

Ding Anhui 
Ding Anhui 

Like many emperors and commoners throughout the long ages of Chinese history, forty-something Ding Anhui is obsessed with elaborate jade pieces. Ding also is a master of the art of sculpting jade. What sets him further apart is that he holds the understanding of an adept, for the complexity of cultures surrounding the magic stone.

Ding said, "The Chinese character "Guo" meaning nation, has thecharacter "Jade" inside its square frame. It means there is no nation if there is no jade. The importance of jade to the Chinese can be traced to many Chinese characters found on pictographs. This is one of prominent the characteristics that distinguishes Chinese civilization from others."

Ding Anhui was born into a not so well-to-do family in the city of Bengbu in east China's Anhui Province. No one would have any reason to expect the child of an ordinary family would someday become immersed in the richness of jade.

Ding said, "There's a famous ancient Chinese tale about a hermit presenting a peerless piece of jade to a rather obtuse emperor. I first heard it on the class when I was a small student. It really sounds like myth or legend to me."

But Fortune's wheel opened a door for Ding Anhui. In 1976, after graduating from high school, Ding was hired by a factory in his town. It happened to be a manufacturing centre for jade carving.

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