STONES FROM HEAVEN contained 400 objects dating from 4,000 B.C. through the Han Dynasty. Valued for its color, texture and toughness, jade was first cut in China 12,000 years ago. During the Neolithic Period, it was used for weapons, figurines, earrings and costume ornaments. Recent discoveries of jade in tombs of the period have prompted archaeologists to consider that China passed through a unique Jade Age between the Stone and Bronze Ages. The refined carving techniques, technical advances and interest in immortality that appeared during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.) created new uses for jade, among which were funerary objects. A jade burial suit and a set of 10 Bi discs, placed under or on top of the deceased, were part of the exhibition. Also on view: a jade and agate necklace from the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th c.–770 B. C.) and a pair of Jue slit rings from the Late Neolithic Period (4,000–2,000 B.C.).
The exhibition was organized by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the National Museum of Natural Science, Taichung, Taiwan, from the collections of The Aurora Foundation, Mr. Wu T’ang Hai and Mrs. Kuo Shu-Hui. Sponsored by The Aurora Foundation, the exhibition was funded in part by the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program.
The exhibition documentary publication was produced by the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of Natural Science, Taichung, Taiwan.