Special Feature -- Tianhuang

... Tian Huang

Special thanks: The tian-huang stones shown here are part of the collection of Mr. Xie Dao-xian. Click on the above image to see more of Mr Xie Doa Xian's private collection.


Tian Huang is a kind of precious stone that are excavated in Shou-shan of the Fujian Province, China. It looks like some kind of jadeite but in fact it is a kind of soapstone. In the old days, most of the Emperors' official seals were made of jadeite. Until late Ming Dynasty (early 17th C.), a prominent sculpter Wen Peng used a piece of Tianhuang to make a seal for the emperor who appreciated it very much. The love for tianhuang began.

It is said that in the Qing (Ching) Dynasty, when the Emperor gave worship to Heavens, there had to be a piece of Tian-huang on the altar. The setting is said to be extremely auspicious because the Chinese word "Yellow" or "Huang" sounds the same as "Emperor". The word "Shou" of "Shou-shan" means "longevity", and the word "Fu" of "Fujian" means "Fortune". Hence, "Long live the Emperor and his Fortune"!
Therefore, for the last three centuries, tian-huang stones have always been a kind of favourite scholar's objects. In recent years, the price of tian-huang has surpassed that of ji-xue (chicken-blood stone) and gold.

Tian Huang, or yellow field, can be of various colours but the ones of rich golden honey tone with orange veins are the most valueable. One should be able to see these veins even without any aids. Tianhuang is usually measured by its weight instead of its size. The heavier, the more expensive.

Tian Huang

Tian Huang

The hardness of Tian-huang is said to be perfect for seal carving. A piece of good tianhuang can easily fetch more than USD10,000. One should learn more about different grades of Tianhuang and Shou-Shan Stone before he wants to invest in one. However, if one wants to sample more of them at one go, Tai Sing House on Queen Victoria Street, or CRC Department Store on Queen's Road Central, may be a good place to visit.

If you happen to be in Wan-Chai, you can go to Shek Wo Yuan to check out their collection of Shou-Shan stones.

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