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Carved Nesting Ivory Balls

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Period: late Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: ivory
Dimensions: length: 51.2 cm, diameter: 10 cm

There are sixteen layers of perforated nesting ivory balls, each ball has a wall no thicker than two millimeters and is pierced with twelve holes. The outermost wall is completely carved with flowers and landscape while the inner fifteen walls are carved with double-coin and chrysanthemum patterns, and diagrams for the Chinese character for "rice". Every ball rotates smoothly. The entire nesting ball is attached with a carved monster with a fish body and a dragon head at one end and a carved tiny statue of the "two immortals of harmony and unity" (hehe erxian) at the other. It is a luxurious item fit for decorating imperial halls. These carved nesting ivory balls are a traditional Cantonese ivory craft.

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