Jade Ornament

Jin Dynasty, 1115-1234 AD
Shanghai Museum

Half the art of jade carving involves the drilling, grinding, and polishing of such a hard material; ideally, the craftsman also implements a design that is enhanced, like a cameo, by different colors inside the jade. In this example, a pair of birds flies among the clouds; undercutting and contrast, between the birds and their background, lends definition and spatial depth to the scene.