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Posts Tagged ‘Palace Museum’

Packaging

July 21st, 2013 No comments
Shang Dynasty jade dagger-axe treasured in Palace Museum. The silk and hemp fabric packaging closely adhered to the surface owing to the passage of time.

Shang Dynasty jade dagger-axe treasured in Palace Museum. The silk and hemp fabric packaging closely adhered to the surface owing to the passage of time.

Packaging is closely related to people’s daily life. Traditionally the guidelines on packaging in China are always “for the convenience of the users” and “pleasing to the eyes.”

In earlier days, natural materials were used in packing such as tree leaves, bamboo, lotus leaves, palm leaves, gourds, cocoanut shells, shells of shellfish, animal skin, etc. Later on, man-made material were used including fabrics, ceramics, metals, lacquer ware, woodware, jadeware, paper, etc. As early as the late years of the primitive society, packaging had already started. Bamboo tubes, gourd shells, cocoanut shells, earthen jugs, etc. were used to hold liquids; baskets made from bamboo or willow twigs, were used to hold solid objects. Sometimes commodities were directed wrapped in bamboo leaves, lotus leaves, etc. In China materials, ornaments and styles in packaging differ in different historical periods, changing with the productivity, and scientific and technological development, and conforming to the fashion of the time.

The pottery wares emerged in the Neolithic Age was the first great invention of man-made packaging materials. In comparison with natural materials, they have the advantages of being durable, antiseptic, and anti-worm-eaten. They also excel in long-distance transportation and in being various in forms. It is interesting that the earliest food cans were discovered in China – the twelve airtight food cans unearthed in Baoshan of Hubei in 316 B.C. These cans were tightly sealed with multi-layer materials such as straw mats, bamboo leaves, wet clay, etc. Individual cans were cased with bamboo baskets having a handle above for convenient carrying. On the outmost layer, silk was covered before they were tied up with thin bamboo strips or silk ribbon, which were sealed with clay, attached with label bearing the description of the food contained in the can. By this process the food can be kept for a long period of time without going bad or discoloring.
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Bamboo carving

July 16th, 2012 No comments
Ming Dynasty brush pot, housed in Nanjing Museum.

Ming Dynasty brush pot, housed in Nanjing Museum.

Bamboo carving means to carve various ornamental patterns or characters on bamboo items, or make ornaments from bamboo roots by carving. China is the first country in the world using bamboo articles. The extant bamboo carving item early in age is the painted lacquer bamboo ladle unearthed from the Western Han Tombs No. 1 in Mawangdui of Changsha. Decorated with dragon and braids designs using bas-relief and fretwork techniques, it is a highly finished rarity.
Since the mid-Ming Dynasty, bamboo carving developed into a special art. At the very beginning, there were only a few well-educated artisans working for bamboo carving. As bamboo was easily available, more and more people started to join in this craft, some by learning from others privately, until bamboo carving became a special line with a great quantity of works left over to posterity. Bamboo joint carving is the representative variety in bamboo carving in which bamboo joints are shaped into brush pots, incense tubes, tea caddies, etc. and then its surface pierced out to make relief sculpture to produce an artistic effect.

The techniques of bamboo carving mainly include keeping green-covering, pasting yellow chips, round carving and inlaying.
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Wood carving

July 17th, 2005 No comments
Ming Dynasty eaglewood mandarin duck hand warmer, 5 cm high, 6.5 cm long, 6.5 cm wide

Ming Dynasty eaglewood mandarin duck hand warmer, 5 cm high, 6.5 cm long, 6.5 cm wide

Woodcarving in China constitutes three major categories: architecture carving, furniture carving and artworks carving. Woodcarving as handiworks for display or fondling started from the Song Dynasty when the practice of fondling artworks gradually rose among men of letters and refined scholars. This prevailing custom reached its climax in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Furnishing artworks are a traditional category in wood carving, which are placed on cabinets, windowsills, tables, shelves, etc. Wood carving can also be used to decorate all sorts of furniture and other artworks such as jade-ware, cloisonné and chinaware.

Woodcarving can be seen all over the region on both sides of the Yangtze River where the best known includes the Dongyang woodcarving in Guangdong Province, the golden-lacquer woodcarving in Zhejiang Province, longan woodcarving in Fujian Province and Huizhou woodcarving in Anhui Province.

Dongyang County of Zhejiang Province has always been celebrated for being the “home of carving.” Dongyang woodcarving started from the Tang Dynasty, developed in the Song Dynasty and became popular in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Dongyang carvings preserve the original textures and colors of the wood which, when meticulously polished, make the finished works appear smooth and lustrous. Relief carving is the essence of Dongyang woodcarving in which the depth of the patterns ranges between two and five millimeters. The centerpiece is focused on by the force of the cutting. The designs of Dongyang woodcarving lays stress on “carving all over the background,” which means to have patterns carved over the entire surface of the object so that it has three dimensional display while the background is fully covered. That is a unique artistic style.
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Palace Museum

January 1st, 1988 No comments

Address: Beijing, Jingshan Front Street, #4 (Jingshan Qian Jie, #4)

The dragon throne in the Taihe Hall in the Forbidden City

The dragon throne in the Taihe Hall in the Forbidden City

The Palace Museum is situated in the center of Beijing, the capital city of China. It was stablished on October 10, 1925, and is China’s largest museum. The museum is also known as the ‘Purple’ Forbidden City in Chinese, or the Forbidden City as it is commonly known in nglish. It covers 720,000 square meters and was the imperial palace for a succession of twenty-four emperors and their dynasties during the Ming and Qing periods of Chinese history. The museum is also China’s largest and most complete architectural grouping of ancient halls. Construction was begun in 1420, the eighteenth year of Yongle, so that the site has existed for the past 580 years.

More than 70 halls of various sizes, containing more than 9,000 rooms, comprise the Forbidden City. These halls are aligned along a north-south axis, and extend out on either side in an east-west symmetry. The central axis not only passes through the Purple Forbidden City, but extends south to Yongding Gate and north to the Bell and Drum Towers, for a length of some eight kilometers. This passage through the entire city of Beijing symbolizes the centrality of the imperial power: the imperial seat is at the very center of this line. The architectural design lines up the buildings in neat array and with imposing scale. In a oncentrated form, this assemblage expresses China’s artistic traditions in the setting of China’s

The marble royal ramp of the Baohe Hall in the Forbidden City

The marble royal ramp of the Baohe Hall in the Forbidden City

unique architectural style.

Entering the Forbidden City from Tian’an Men, one first moves straight through the Duan Gate to arrive at Wu Men, or the great Wu Gate. The popular name for Wu Men is the Five Phoenix Tower; this is the front entrance to the Purple Forbidden City. Going through Wu Men, spread out before one is a broad courtyard with the twisting course of the Jinshui Creek (Gold Water Creek) passing from west to east like a jade belt. Five marble bridges have been constructed over this waterway. Passing through the Taihe Gate to the north of the bridges one reaches the core of the Purple Forbidden City, the famous three great halls called Taihe Hall, Zhonghe Hall, and Baohe Hall.
Taihe Hall is 28 meters high and occupies a space of around 2,380 square meters. It is the largest hall in the Palace. A red-lacquered dais around two meters high sits in its center, on which is placed a golden lacquered and carved dragon throne. Behind the throne is a screen carved with dragons and on either side of the dais are six great golden pillars with vigorous golden dragons coiling up them. In the recessed ceiling well above the throne is an extremely large coiled golden dragon, with a silvery pearl suspended from its mouth. The Taihe Hall was the location of the Emperor’s most important ceremonies, such as his own inauguration, his birthday, New Years, the arrival of winter, and so on. Behind the Taihe Hall lies the Zhonghe Hall. This is a square hall with four ridge poles along the roofline that unite at the top in a large, round, gilded topknot called a baoding. The profile of the building is extremely beautiful. When the Emperor was about to officiate at important ceremonies, he would first rest in this building and receive visits of his various Ministers. Behind the Zhonghe Hall is the Baohe Hall. In the Qing dynasty, every New Year’s Eve, the Emperor would hold a great banquet in this hall. This also was where the highest exam of the Ke-ju exam system was held.
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