Delicate Arts, Serious Effort


So WordPress wants pictures of something delicate, and this jumped immediately to mind. This is a jade carving from the Shanghai Museum, probably the most amazing thing I saw there. It’s a great piece of art, but it’s hard to comprehend without understanding the scale. This carving is about the size of my fist, if that. Those little figures are under a centimeter in height.

Impressive, no?

I’d like you to take a moment to consider the amount of work that went into this. Imagine what it took to carve out the details on the robes of a figure smaller than the tip of your pinky, or to winnow out a support as thick as a hair. Look at the minute detail – the ridges in the mountain path, the inclines in the roof – all done by hand. Consider how many hours it must have taken.

Now think about how little it would take to ruin it all. One slip of the hand, a little too much pressure on the wrong spot, and those tiny little figures would be gone, taking with them days of effort. It took an almost unimaginable effort to make something that could be destroyed in a heartbeat.

And having considered all of that, ask yourself: Have I been putting in 100% on everything I’ve done?

Posted on December 14, 2012, in Photojournal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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