The jade reminds you of who you are. The jade itself is nothing but a cold stone in essence. However, the jade carver manages to improve it with unique design. In this way, the stone is transformed, infused with a soul and comes into life.
Suzhou boasts a long history in jade carving. The jade carving craft of Suzhou had come into existence as early as the Neolithic period and came to prime in the Ming and Qing dynasties. It has been renowned nationwide for the delicacy and exquisiteness. As the saying goes, the high-quality jades gather in the capital, but the best jade carvers are in Suzhou, which reveals its influence in the circle at that time. As time goes by, the jade carvers of Suzhou inherit the tradition and try to innovate by incorporating multiple new elements. In this way, they manage to make a balance between simple and complex, hard and soft with sleek lines that you could hardly find out it is man-made.
Ms. Cheng Lei is local of Suzhou, a city with numerous canals and bridges. She grew up in Suzhou and has been friend to its natural scenery and cultural heritage. The culture of Jiangnan, or south of the Yangtze River, has already become part of her life. Though gentle and reserved in appearance, she remains true to herself, frank and straightforward in disposition. Finally, she earns her own position in the jade carving industry, which is most often than not dominated by men.
Ms. Cheng Lei has always been committed to discover, create and embody the beauty during over thirty years of work. She has inherited the profound Chinese concept of design and craftsmanship, while at the same integrated traditional Chinese culture and western aesthetics to make her works of art concise, delicate and elegant. She never deliberately narrates or conveys her attitude with works of art. Rather she would create with ease of mind. Once in a while, she might see something often-to-be-seen in daily life and her sentiment would be aroused and a work of art comes into being.We could comprehend from her, a lady from Jiangnan, the unique understanding of jade and the allure of Suzhou.
Sincere thanks go to Ms. Cheng Lei for the donation of her work, which enriches our museum’s collection.
Director of Suzhou Museum