The trade in jadeite jade is a multi-billion-dollar industry that spans miners and military groups in northern Myanmar, traders and carvers in the Myanmar- China borderlands, and consumers in eastern Chinese cities like Shanghai.
Spectral Jade is a study of how the jadeite trade is practiced and why jadeite is so expensive in China. Based on ethnographic research among jadeite traders, carvers, and users, the study presents a spectrum of voices that points to why jade is called ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ in China, while jadeite could aptly be called ‘Blood Jade’ in Myanmar. Examining interplays of materiality and conceptuality in trade, carving, and use of jadeite, the study considers how nonhuman materiality matters in human imagining, and outlines contours of a Chinese holistic cosmology.
Henrik Kloppenborg Møller has done research in, and on China since 2005. His research interests include materiality, authenticity, knowledge, exchange, value, and identity. Spectral Jade is his doctoral dissertation.