September 1, 2010

Chinese Carving - An Imperial Junk

This posting is dedicated to Ghosty N@na who will be off working overseas on a project. We went photo hunting in this hot afternoon sometime ago. I hope we can call some bloggers to join us when she comes back to Miri ....

While gallivanting along Wireless Road my friend and I stopped by an old garage to look at the Chinese wares offered for sale.

Three Chinese towkays were sitting at a table eating boiled tapioca in the hot afternoon. They were lounging comfortably diregarding any customer who came in. The sweaty salesgirl came up to us and asked us to look at the goods which were all dusty and untidily displayed. There is no air conditioning. And the place is really a garage.

One item took my interest - a Chinese red wood (hung mu) carving of an Imperial Junk according to the label - probably a Ming Age sea going boat or just a pleasure boat...It was an interesting piece but the towkay was not too sure of the historical significance and historical references of the carving. The price tag is RM3800.If it can be verified that the wood is Yew Wood the carving would give special health benefits to the family who owns this replica. Yew wood has magical properties of healing according to some scholars. (So? One can see the emperor there ...that's good enough...)

what is remarkable is the wood from which the carving is made. The artistic skill of the carving is not exquisite but it can still be considered worthy representation of an old ancient artifact.

Perhaps a rich tycoon can buy it and place it in his office. A very nice glass case would enhance its beauty.

It was really difficult for me to take this photo. The items were too crowded together and the porcelain wares form a poor background.

Here under a  "ting" is the Emperor sitting down . This should be considered a vantage point for him to sit with his female slaves fanning him.

Two dragons are at the front or bow of the ship - signifying that this ship belonged to the Emperor .

The top deck.

This photo shows four decks (or four storeys) of the Imperial Junk. The whole replica is about 24 inches long. Each part of the junk is remarkably carved. I have not seen a real imperial junk or a good replica but this item on sale here is really worth a second look. How nice it can be if some rich man can buy this and present it to one of the museums in Sibu.

I do wonder how long it took the sculptor to complete this piece. And how much patience he must have to work through the hot summer's day. And if I studied every part of the carving how long would it take me to understand the parts and significance of the art work? What tools did he use? Did he cut his fingers? How old was he when he started the work? Was he trained? or was he just one of the bare foot artists of modern China eeking out a living in a small windowless work place?

I hope Ghosty Nana will find her Emperor and enjoy sailing down the Grand Canal in China......wink wink...


wenn said...

wow, nice carvings!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Wenn
Hope you had a great Merdeka Day...ours was a quiet one yesterday....

Ann said...

nice carvings, are they from China? I hope it is genuine wood, Otherwise what a waste of effort.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann
The items are from China and the junk is a true Chinese work of is just that the wood which is Red Wood is genuine and the artist may not be really someone famous...Famous artists would command higher prices...e.g. Jade junk carving= 40 000 dollars!!
this one is probably viewed as mediocre and price could be lowered.

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