VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Ivory Carving of Battle Scene
BATEA 1363
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This piece depicts Red Guards in the midst of battle. The wind gust blows the plants in one direction, while the soldiers push on against the forceful wind. The carving portrays the style of clothing during the Cultural Revolution and even includes a howitzer cannon. The fine details and convincing portrayal of movement of this piece indicates that it could only have been made by a master carver.

History of the Object
During the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1967-1976), traditionally trained craftsmen could only create works that depict Communist ideology and were utilized for government propaganda. Master craftspeople were commissioned to create fine works for official display. Due to the Communist economy of that time, these masters could take their time in creating fine works without having to worry about producing quantity. The quality of workmanship during this period was rarely seen after the eighteenth century in China.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Ivory on wooden base; inlaid silver 
Measurements
Width 12 cm Height 15,5 cm Length 81 cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China, possibly Guangdone Province 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
20th Century; 1967-1976 (Cultural Revolution) 
Function
Propaganda 
Acquisition
Purchased by Brian McElney, Founder of the Museum of East Asian Art, in Hong Kong in the late 1980s; formally accessioned into the collection in 2008. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
The Museum of East Asian Art 
Museum
Virtual Museum of the Chinese masterpieces 
Credit line
 

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