Chinese Art, Chinese Masters of Art
Day 5 - High Class Art Store.
by Armstrong

Day 5 - High Class Art Store.

hong kong chinese art supplies

I walked way into Hong Kong centre and to one side of a strange underground / overground carpark was something titled as an 'ART STORE' in English. Stepping through the doorway I was stunned at the degree of art I saw and thought "if one suffered from  'ostentatious gasconadicy'  then this was their parlour-elite.  

Ornately Carved Fossilised Mamoth Tusk.
£2,800,000ukp
$28,000,000hkd

Yes, if you're a Mammoth and you're shares in flint fell through the cave floor, sell one of your tusks after giving it a bit of a whittle instead. You'll be set up for life.

The degree of carving  in this tusk was absolutely beyond everything I have encountered so far across my ten years of study in China's arts. I asked one of the pristinely attired staff if they could enlighten me as to the items history and origin.  The irritated salesman told me that he would get into trouble if his boss caught me filming or photographing their stock.
Because of the price of the item I found it tricky to say, "Well, I'm going to show this to a prospective client." I'm just not your everyday carevd Mammoth Tusk salesman. So, after two shots the camera went away. Some say, ask first. I say, Take first, suffer the reprimand later.

After thirty years in the Photographic world of Journalism, Commercial Photography and lengthy conversations with Sir Peter Maisefield in the 80's regarding P.R. photography and how intriguing HE found it... you learn that the politics in 'etiquettique' renders nothing.

He who asks, sometimes doesn't get.
He who dares... wins.

If you look at the top of the tusk (See it full size HERE)  this is a house and garden completely carved in another Mammoth's tusk found in the same region. Apologies for the quality of the image. The spotlighting was powered by lazer it seemed and time was tight as the man in charge briskly strutted over to me.  
He did tell me, though, that over 14 different people carved this and each was given a particular element to focus on. Someone did the tree trunks. Someone did the leaves. Someone did the flowers. Others did clothes, male, female. And so on.
It reminded me of the Celebratory ink Stone carevd in the Qianlong gardens celebrating Calligraphy and the Birth of Writing. The ink stone is about 66 tons. Has something like 11 dragons on it and was carved by 11 of the countries finest craftsmen.

Anyway... on the tusk itself the trees and buildings are incredible but there must be about 60 people carved into this tusk. Each one with a facial expression and clothing to the period as well. Each doing something - carrying something - working on something.
Each with a facial expression. When you look at it in detail right down to the creases in each persons cheeks from a frown or smile....... £3m doesnt really do it justice.

JADE CARVING....

We have all seen jade carvings. But this store must have had about 200 such models in it and some of these carvings were at least 7 feet across. This shot I discreetly snuck out without anyone "getting annoyed."

The thing that stunned me the most..... Jade isnt the hardest of stone, but thats not to say its easy to create this Horse. The tricky issue is..... the mane.

I could not believe the fineness of this mane or the lack of mistakes.

And many other carvings had basket weave with the tiny holes through and each weave was in perfect condition.  The ciolour of the stone is one thing but the artists carve their subjects according to the waves and washes of colour swirl within the stone.

Its not just a case of carving something to suit the artist. The artist uses the flow and marks inside the stone and its "impurities" to generate something that compliments the carving and almost makes it look as if the stone was made for the subject to appear.

Sadly I was not allowed to take any more photos than I have shown here.  I felt very alone there as I wandered about gazing at these intricately carved stones which had trailing hairs and limbs that, with the brush of a finger, would simply snap off. Yet every one was in perfect condition and incredibly beautiful. This was an art store for someone with money to burn in five figure lumps. This horse, for instance, would set you back over £200,000ukp.


Wednesday, 2 December, 2015, 18:30



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