Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Micro Engraving

Micro carving/engraving has 3000 years of history, in the Shang Dynasty in China. The artisans had a strong foundation in calligraphy, excellent control of their hands, worked in total concentration, and possessed unparallel eyesight. The requirements are so demanding that there were only a handful of these experts. Majority of this art were commonly seen on oracle bones, stone, wood, ivory, human hair and requires a microscopic of 100 magnification in order to read them.

Some of the better known micro engravers today who practice this art include Feng Yaozhong (Zhejiang) who carves on sesame seeds with works listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, Li Qiufeng (Shandong Province) who carved the full text of Confucius teachings on porcelain, Shen Weizhong (Suzhou) who engraves poems on pieces of hair only several mm long, and Zhang Yunhu (Shanghai) who reproduced the 300 Tang Poems of over 10,000 characters on a 3cm square piece of ivory.

To the right is a sterling bracelet where I engraved Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I love thee” poem. I would consider my inscriptions as mini engravings since you do not need a microscope to read the text. Yes, it required a lot of practice, breath-holding, and total concentration. This bracelet was purchased by a gentleman for his wife to celebrate a special birthday. I love happy endings. :)


Barbara Merwin said...

That is an incredible skill to be able to engrave words on such a tiny space! I would think one would need a high degree of concentration as it would be hard, if not impossible, to correct a mistake. Ken

Anna Lee H. in Toronto said...

Hi Theresa!
How Do I Love Thee? ??? What creation could be more appropriate for Valentine's Day? This piece is just stunning. Let us know once it is listed so we can tweet about it!
~Anna Lee

ChezChani said...

Wow, that really is incredible. There's something I cannot really attempt. Don't have total control of my hands, and my eyesight is definitely paralelled.

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine how you do that! Heck, I can't read directions on how long to have something in the microwave anymore! But I LOVE that bracelet---these are definitely pieces with a message---think of all the options!!! Jewelry with a statement! Teri http://www.sandtcreations.com/wordpress