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Boat Carved from an Olive Stone

Tags: craft | National Palace Museum | olive


The bottom of this small, long, oval boat follows the natural curving outline of the olive pit from which it was carved, while at the top of the awning is engraved a tightly bound sail and rope. On either side of the boat are four delicately rendered windows in openwork, and the two central panels can even be opened. Seated in the boat by the window is the famous Sung dynasty literary figure Su Tung-p'o (Shih, 1037-1101) with another figure at the table and cups arranged on the table.

Carved in such a small boat is a total of eight figures, each in minute detail and rendered with liveliness. On the bottom of the boat is engraved the “Latter Ode to the Red Cliff”by Su Tung-p'o. The more than 300 characters are dense and detailed.

Boat Carved from an Olive Stone

Boat Carved from an Olive Stone

Ch'ing dynasty (1644-1911)

National Palace Museum

3D Virtual Collection Exhibition System