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Micro-carving is an ancient technique of engraving and drawing on small objects and using a knife instead of pen when engraving. Miniature carvings have appeared in Oracle dated back to 5000 years ago. Walnut carving was popular in the Ming Dynasty. According to an ancient book: “Liu Tiebi is good at mini-carving. He can carve out the landscape, trees, and pavilions on the 7-inch stone or wood, as delicate as a piece of hair.” Micro-carving especially walnut carving became trendy among royal families by Qing dynasty, a pair of high-end walnut became the symbol of social status. After Qing dynasty, due to the various war and following culture revolution, micro-craving was gradually faded.

From 2nd dimension to 3rd dimension 
Micro Carving - Walnut Sculpture

In the 1500s, the same era as Ming dynasty in China, The micro sculpture of boxwood miniature altarpiece created by Adam Dircksz in Netherland has the

very similar charm of

this certain craft art.


The modern micro

art originated at the

end of 20th century,

a few noticeable micro

sculptors actively create

artwork on various materials, such as the Russian artist Vladimir Aniskin








In this exhibition, we introduce the Chinese walnut sculptor Dingyun Li’s work. He’s the 4th generation in his family heritage such a delicate technique, and probably the last one.  


         Dingyun Li, Four Flowers

Dingyun Li (李定雲)

Li Dingyun was born in Hubei province in 1970. A microcarving walnut carver founded the "Xiangshizhai" Li's microcarving walnut studio. His fully master walnut carving techniques by 

combining the northern and southern micro-engraving techniques.

It has been passed down for four generations for around a hundred years. Mr. Li’s grandfather was a master in calligraphy and sculpting. Li very interested in painting and sculpting with hm since he was a child. His grandfather found that he has a tranquility personality and can always calm down and concentrate on writing and painting. “My grandfather felt that I could be ‘a children can be taught.’’ Mr. says. That’s how his 30 years craving journey had started. 

Walnut culture - Double Function

Walnut was used to knead hands since the Ming Dynasty. At the beginning, it was just an auxiliary tool for music masters to exercise finger flexibility. After long-term rubbing, the walnut became crimson and round, and the patina was as shiny as jade. The walnuts-kneading gradually spread among royal and the riches, and became one of the health-preserving appliances. Later on, as walnuts also have auspicious meanings in folklore, it was becoming widely popular to entire society. 


Color and texture changing after years rubbing

(Dingyun Li's Work - Money history) 

Good and Evil Collection

Half good half evil, they are be blurred and yet, coexisted as one.

 Where is your attention? What is your perception? 


              Turbulent Friendship - Vincent Van Gogh & Paul Gauguin
The two famous late-19th century painters were close friends, even creating a community of avant-garde artists together. In October 1888, Gauguin joined Van Gogh in Arles at the “Yellow House” he was renting, staying there for just over two months.

The two friends lived together, sharing costs, drinking significant amounts of absinthe, and painting the same subjects. Van Gogh in particular was especially prolific. Sadly, their friendship eventually deteriorated, and their living situation became untenable. The relationship was unbalanced, with Van Gogh frequently taking advantage of Gauguin, dipping into his money and failing to help with household chores…

But it was above all quarrels over art that pushed the pair apart, and on 23 December 1888 a violent dispute about painting erupted in which Gauguin argued it was important to work from imagination, while Van Gogh maintained paintings should be based on nature.

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