5 October 2023, 19:58

Balls inside balls are recognized ivory masterpieces

Balls inside balls are recognized ivory masterpieces
In the field of Chinese art, the skill of bone carving is a tradition that has existed for centuries. One of the most famous and time-consuming techniques is the ball-in-ball technique, a truly mesmerizing and complex form of carving.

This artistic method involves creating the seemingly impossible - a ball enclosed inside another, skillfully carved from a single piece of bone.
Chinese bone carving dates back more than two millennia and dates back to the Shang Dynasty. At that time, bone carving was primarily used for fortune telling, with oracle bones carved into intricate designs using engraving.

Over time, this art form developed, and artisans began to carve elegant and ornate objects - hairpins, combs and figurines, etc.
The Ball in Ball technique originated during the Ming Dynasty and became widespread during the Qing Dynasty. During this period, bone carving techniques improved and artisans began to experiment with more complex shapes, leading to the development of this type of carving.

The technique for carving the inner spheres, and their wall thickness often did not exceed 1 mm, consisted of scraping out the internal spaces through small holes using special tools that could be inserted into the hole and then turned into working position.
It was easiest for the craftsman to carve the top ball, so it was decorated with openwork carvings, patterns and elaborate designs. Then began trimming the base and creating a new ball through the existing holes in the top ball. Then the master “walked” layer by layer. The last, smallest ball was the heart of the entire structure.

Chinese Ball in Ball Bone Carving is an exceptional piece of craftsmanship that also holds cultural and symbolic significance. Spheres nested within each other symbolize unity, harmony and the cyclical nature of life.
Additionally, these carvings are prized as collectibles for their beauty and the level of craftsmanship required to create them.


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