國立故宮博物院 National Palace Museum

http://www.npm.gov.tw/en/collection/



Handled Ivory Openwork Container
Ch’ing Dynasty (1644-1911)
Height: 45.4 cm, width: 30.4, depth: 21.6 cm

“The body of this handled food container is divided into four levels, into which different kinds of food can be placed. However, judging from the frail and delicate exterior, it was more probably used as a decorative object as opposed to an actual functional utensil. The carving is exceptionally refined, with the main part carved delicately in openwork from an ivory panel, which was inlaid into the frame. The background is composed of a ground of straight lines like a piece of weaving. The detail between the lines is so delicate that “absolute perfection in workmanship” are the only words that can describe it.”

Up close and at first glance, I thought this piece was merely weaved out of lace. I was astonished to find out that this was made out of ivory, because it seemed fine and frail. You have to see it with your very own eyes to believe it.


Taipei’s National Palace Museum is the 4th largest museum in the world, next to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Louvre in Paris, and the British Museum in London. It has the most complete and extensive collection of Chinese art and objects that withstood the test of time, and is quite rich in multimedia and realia to give you a complete picture of the world’s oldest civilization and its culture. If you can’t take the next flight out to Taipei, you can explore the highlights of the museum in their online collection here.

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