Sphere Inside a Sphere Composition
A gift from the New Democratic Union
of Chinese Youth, 1950
Judging by visitor reviews, this Chinese artwork made
of ivory became one of the most popular exhibits at the
Exhibition of gifts to the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin
in Moscow, which took place from 1949 to1953.
Sphere Inside a Sphere
is the most popular artwork
by the Chinese masters, made
specially to boggle the
Europeans’ minds.
Inside the upper relief sphere
are smaller spheres, also covered
with fretwork. This wonderful
item consists of 25 separate
spheres put inside each other.
Through the opening inside each
sphere you can see a smaller, but
no less exquisite sphere, which
can roll over into one another. The
diameter of the outer, largest sphere
is just 10cm!
It is difficult to believe, but the whole puzzle is made of a solid piece of ivory! The inner
spheres are shaped through the opening in the upper sphere. Because of its intricacy,this
techniques is called “Demon’s work” in China.
The sphere tops a complex carved composition with
traditional Chinese motifs.Mythical twins He-He are
depicted by the base of the statue to symbolize peace,
serenity and harmony.
The twins stand under the pine tree,
which is a symbol of longevity.
One of the brothers holds a lotus
flower, a symbol of chastity of
The other one holds a half-opened
box with a bat that they had caught,
an embodiment of happiness.
So this gift was not just a marvel of
Chinese art, but an exquisite wish for