Wandering craftsmen behind jade working?

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20 November 2007 (National Geographic News) – National Geographic’s story on the chemical tracing of jade artefacts from Southeast Asia. It’s interesting to note that while the jade came mainly from a single source, they were worked outside of Taiwan. And despite their wide dispersal to Philippines, Vietnam and to a large part of Southeast Asia they were worked into two distinct styles, implying some sort of specialised tradition.

Jade Earrings Reveal Ancient S.E. Asian Trade Route
by Carolyn Barry

Jade jewelry found near ancient burial sites across Southeast Asia has revealed one of the largest marine trading networks of prehistoric times, a new study says.

Mineral analysis shows that most of nearly 150 sampled artifacts dated as far back as 3000 B.C. can be traced back to a single site in Taiwan (see map), about 190 miles (120 kilometers) off the coast of mainland China.

This indicates that the small island supplied much of Southeast Asia with a unique variety of the semiprecious stone via a 1,800-mile (3,000-kilometer) trade route around the South China Sea.

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