Saturday, May 26, 2012

Coral and Chinese Craftsmanship

The rest of Taipei on a cloudy day
Taipei 101 still towers over the skyline
A very intricate coral artpiece
I am running around Taipei with some of the other teachers from UP Arki. Today we decided to brave the long lines to reach the view deck of Taipei 101, once the tallest building in the whole world.  We reached Taipei 101 at around noon but got to book tickets for a 3 o'clock schedule. To wait our turn, we perused through the precious coral displays at the lobby of Taipei 101 observatory.

Fine craftmanship
Kois from black coral
At first I thought the encased corals are just the plain polished specimens.  But scrutinizing one in detail, I realized that the bumps and crevices on the coral piece was not the plain texture you expect created by polyps. Instead in their place you find a series of figures from warriors, village people and even a pagoda. It is really amazing how all the detail were crammed into one fragile and slender piece of coral. The craftmanship is so intricate.   

Zeus created from coral
When we asked for how much some of the simple pieces were selling, they range from tens of thousands to millions of Taiwan dollars.  I guess you really have to put a price on real artistry.  But judging by the delicate and fine shapes created from just a very simple material such as coral, the artist would have spent much of his time and patience chieselling through the masterpiece. 

Red coral diety
Imagine that from a piece of coral that we in the Philippines find almost in all corners of our archipelago's coastline.  We usually scrap these whenever we find them on the beach.  Worst is that we destroy the coral habitats because we treat them as an everyday item, take them for granted.  We do not treasure them the way the Chinese craftsman do. We should have more vision and dedication to treasure these resources before we realize we underestimated their real value.   

Polished coral with sea background
Beautiful coral sculpture with Chinese dieties

1 comment:

Plant Chaser said...

Amazing detail in the work.