Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 15 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. César de Bus
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

A boat carved out of an olive pit

Daniel Esparza - published on 11/03/16

The sculpture, carved in the 18th century, is being exhibited in China’s National Palace Museum

In 1737, after reading the “Ode on the Red Cliff” — a well-known work written by the Chinese poet Su Shih — the Chinese artist Chen Tsu-Chang started working on a new sculpture, depicting Su Shih alongside his friends on a boat, sailing under the moonlight. However, rather than working on marble, stone or wood, Tsu-Chang decided he was going to carve his piece from an olive pit.

The sculpture is full of intricate details: eight figures travel on the boat, each one of them endowed with particular expressions, in different positions all along the boat.
The sculpture is full of intricate details: eight figures travel on the boat, each one of them endowed with particular expressions, in different positions all along the boat.

The sculpture is full of intricate details: eight figures travel on the boat, each one of them endowed with particular expressions, in different positions all along the boat. The roof, windows and doors of the small ship are abundantly decorated, and can even be opened and closed at convenience.

The sculpture is barely 16 millimeters tall and 34 millimeters long, and is currently exhibited in China’s National Palace Museum
The sculpture is barely 16 millimeters tall and 34 millimeters long, and is currently exhibited in China’s National Palace Museum

According to the post Cultura Inquieta published on Tsu-Chang’s work, the sculpture is barely 16 millimeters tall and 34 millimeters long, and is currently exhibited in China’s National Palace Museum. It is, indeed, an ode in itself to patience, attentiveness to detail and love for one’s work.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
LOREN SCHAUERS
Annalisa Teggi
Amputee from the waist down is thankful every day to be alive
2
SAINT FAUSTINA,CELL
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
St. Faustina’s coffee cup and lessons for Divine Mercy Sund...
3
HOLY SEPULCHRE CROSSES
Zelda Caldwell
Mystery of crosses on walls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre may h...
4
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
St. Padre Pio: His life, his miracles and his legacy
5
JESUS
Fr Robert McTeigue, SJ
A simple test to see if you really believe Christ is risen
6
DIVINE MERCY
Aleteia
Here’s how to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday at home
7
PRINCE PHILIP
Cerith Gardiner
11 Interesting facts about the late Prince Philip
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.