Qing Dynasty Rotating Ivory Ball with Cloud and Dragon
Pattern and Human Figures
Period: Qing Dynasty
Overall height: 52.2cm
Diameter of the ball: 12.9cm
There are total of 21 layers inside the ball and each layer can move freely inside. On the surface of the outermost layer, some dragon and grass pattern is carved. Other than the ball itself, it is accompanied by few human figures at the bottom and a small concentric ball in the middle. The major technique that makes up the ball is called opencarving. Firstly, holes have to drill toward the centre of the ivory ball. Then, a L-shaped tool is used to separate from the innermost to the outermost shell with each layer is only about 2mm. Lastly, detail decoration is carved on the exterior shell. This is a very challenging technique such that it can only be made by hand but not machine. Also, only well-trained masters can do it. Therefore, it also faces a problem of continuity.