maandag 14 oktober 2013

dragon ball

chinese "chi - dragon - phoenix - mystery - puzlle " ball

Chinese arts and crafts have been known for centuries for their beauty, intricate details and mind-boggling craftsmanship. One of the epitomes of Chinese ornamental design is the Chinese puzzle ball, a sphere that is thought to have a strengthening influence on family unity. The balls come in many sizes and materials -- most are handmade from wood, resin, ivory, soapstone or jade. The outermost sphere contains a number of smaller, freely moving balls, all enclosed one within another. Due to this feature, and the fact that through the ages, many have pondered the mystery of making such an object, is has become known as the Chinese puzzle ball. Depending on the size of the object, the ornate sphere can generally be made up of 3 to 7 layers, or balls, to be more precise. The world's biggest puzzle ball contains 42 layers!

The concentric balls are decorated with different types of meticulous open-work carvings, such as plants and animals. The outermost sphere normally boasts a carving depicting the symbolic pair of a dragon and a phoenix. The ball can be hung by a string or displayed on a specially designed stand. Nowadays puzzle balls are often manufactured out of ivory imitation, although balls made using traditional materials and hand-carving techniques remain more valued.
A unique carving technique
Puzzle balls are an astounding display of craftsmanship. The balls are carved by turning a solid ball on a lathe. Holes are drilled towards the center and special L-shaped sharp tools are used to cut free the innermost balls. The tools are of different lengths and the one with the longest upright has the shortest cutter, and vice versa. The work starts off with the longest tool being lowered to the narrow bottom of each hole and rotated to cut
Chinese puzzle balls are also called 'mystery balls'
Chinese puzzle balls are also called 'mystery balls' (Source: Copyright 2006 James Dalgety)
the innermost ball free. The work progresses from the inside out. The two outermost balls are fused together to form a thicker layer so as to prevent breakage when the elaborate carvings of the outermost layer are made. What a terrible accident it would be if the last layer of the ball were to crack after all the work put into decorating the inner layers!
Each ball is decorated with open-work, or pierce, carvings, with the outermost spheres being the most elaborately decorated ones, as they are the easiest to work with. The detail on the outer ball is truly amazing with normally a carving of a dragon and a phoenix intertwined.
The Chinese puzzle ball can be thought of as a "toy," or something to fiddle with, in the sense that it is possible to carefully line up all the holes using a pointed stick, but this is not recommended as it might cause the delicate ornament to chip.

The Chinese puzzle ball could generally be categorized as a good luck charm because it is decorated with symbolic figures and it is the shape of the eternal circle. The multi-layered sphere, which is an exquisite example of carving craftsmanship dating back to ancient China, is also sometimes called, and rightfully so, a "mystery ball."
The layers of the ball can symbolize different things. For example, four layers represent the four compass directions or the four basic elements: air, water, earth and fire. The carvings on the surface also represent or symbolize different things. Two of the most common figures presented on the balls are the dragon and the phoenix, which correspond to our yin (female) and yang (male) characteristics. The dragon represents an emperor, or the husband, and the phoenix represents an empress or the wife. A puzzle ball decorated with these figures symbolizes a happy marriage blessed with success and prosperity. According to the principles of feng shui, in order to best profit from the positive influence of the ball, it should be placed on the southwestern side of your bedroom or living room.

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