A pair of Chinese reticulated ivory hanging baskets and a pair of associated intricately carved ivory puzzle balls.

These are from the Qianlong Period (1736-1795) and are thought to have been made in the Beijing Palace Workshops.

Ivory was highly prized as a luxury item and elephant tusk was, and sadly still is, much sought after for its soft creamy texture, which made it easy to carve and for the silky finish of the completed item.

Puzzle balls, in which a number of finely carved, freely moving concentric spheres were fashioned from a single block of ivory, were made only by the most experienced and extraordinarily skilled craftsmen.

The craft continues today.


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