The term “mind-blowing” gets thrown around way too often online, but in this case, it definitely applies. This detailed statue of a Chinese boat was carved out of a single olive pit!
This work of unimaginable craftsmanship, detail and skill was created in 1737 by Chinese artist Ch’en Tsu-Chang during the Ch’ing Dynasty. The boat is complete with 8 figures that have been accurately reproduced down to their expressions. The boat’s interior features chairs, plates, and even a figure steering the boat. The boat’s roof features individual rods of bamboo and what appears to be a folded-up cloth. The boat’s windows, featuring ornate and intricate decorative framing, are movable! They open and close to reveal the tiny figures within the boat. And all of this in an olive stone measuring 17mm by 34mm.
As unimaginably skillful as Tsu-Chang’s work with this boat was, that’s not all he did with it. The hull of the boat bears a painstaking transcription of “Latter Ode on the Red Cliff” by Su Shih, a famous Chinese writer, poet and statesman who lived during the 11th century. This 300-character text is inscribed in its entirety on the hull of the boat, so the only possible conclusion to be made here is that Tsu-Cheng had nerves of cold, hard steel.
For more stunning examples of miniature artwork, check out our posts on sculptures carved from pencils!
The boat’s windows, featuring ornate and intricate decorative framing, are movable!
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