Jade, or “Yu”, as it is called in Mandarin, is a generic term for two different gems: nephrite and jadeite. It has a very special significance in ancient Chinese culture.
Chinese people love jade just as Western people love diamond. This is why the back of the medal for Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is inlaid with nephrite.
This is a ceremonial nephrite piece, “Huang”, with decoration of bird pattern. Huang is a semi-circular ritual implement and/or ornament. The bird design is a typical pattern in West Chou dynasty (1027-771 B.C.).