Olive Pit Sculptures by Ch’en Tsu-chang

Chinese artist Ch’en Tsu-chang crafted this intricate sculpture from the pit of an olive in 1737 during China’s Ch’ing dynasty.

This miniature artwork stands at only 3.4 cm (1.34 inches) in length and 1.6 cm (0.63 inches) tall, depicts a small boat with eight figures, each of which has its own expression and action. The boat’s windows, featuring ornate and intricate decorative framing, are movable.

According to the National Palace Museum of China, Tsu-chang’s handiwork is based on the poet Su Shih’s Latter Ode on the Red Cliff that tells story about friends going on a serene boat ride. The entire text engraved on the bottom of the boat.


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