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Cantonese Ivory Cutting as the Highest of Degree of Perfection
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Intro :
This set of carved openwork concentric ivory balls with cloud-and-dragon decoration consists of one larger set of concentric balls, a supporting plate, a stand, a smaller set of concentric balls, and a base. This type of ivory ball were made in the Guangdong region during the mid- to late-Qing dynasty. The most puzzling thing about this amazing piece is probably how these delicate balls were made. This technique fascinated the Chinese as well as the European people, and granted its nickname as the “demon’s balls.” The processes of making a demon’s ball usually consists of the following six stages:
1. Selection and cutting down of material
2. Using a lathe to turn the cylinder into a sphere
3. Boring holes
4. Carving inner spheres using a curved cutting tool
5. Decorative carving of outer layer
6. Decorative carving of inner layers
Steps two to four consist of the intricate cutting necessary to produce nested balls. These steps require the use of a lathe. Another important trick is the drilling of evenly spaced perpendicular holes into the outer surface. In fact this is based on a geometrical concept.
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