烟壶随笔 | Snuff Bottle Blog
烟壶随笔 | Snuff Bottle Blog
Take a closer look! This miniature snuff bottle is standing on an adult’s finger! Inside this bottle, there is a poem that is written in a reversed way; by a tiny paint brush, through the small little opening of the bottle and onto the inside wall of the bottle.
The poem is composed by a Song dynasty poet Shao Yong (邵雍),
Which can be translated as:
I once (1) wondered off into this scenic countryside and before I realized, I have walked down the path for 2-3 miles. I can barely see the village ahead through the mist, there were probably 4-5 houses in there. I can also see 6-7 pavilion in the distance decorated by 8, 9 or maybe 10 branches of flower alongside.
On Christmas Day,2015, this bottle was certified by the World Record Association to be the smallest reversed or inner painted calligraphy bottle. This bottle measured only about 10mm in height and 5mm in width!
The artist behind this amazing work is Master Li RuChen (李如琛) – a 34 years old female artist in inner painting from HengSui City, China’s capital city of the Inner Painting Art.
In a short span of about a month time, Master Li RuChen again broke the world record in inner painted calligraphy bottle. This time, she managed to write the full text of LaoZi Dao De Ching, a staggering 5806 Chinese characters, into a bottle that is just as big as an adult’s palm. The bottle measured 145mm in height, 87mm in width, with a mouth opening of about 10mm in diameter. Each Chinese character in the bottle is so tiny that it’s barely readable with a naked eye. No one in history has ever come close to writing so many words in a single bottle.
RuChen is also well versed in landscape, floral, animal, birds and figurine inner painting. Her works are always extremely detailed and carefully drawn out.
Li RuChen came from a poor family, her father worked extremely hard in a local chemical company to provide her and her brother the opportunity to attend school. Master RuChen’s childhood dream is to become a teacher in her hometown of Heng Shui. Unfortunately, the year when she finished her secondary school, there was no intake for teachers. With her dream broken and no other better choice to consider, RuChen enrolled into the Heng Sui art school as an apprentice.
In the same year, RuChen’s father lost his job and in order to make end meets, he took up a helper job in the kitchen of one of Master Wang XiSan’s art school. This is where RuChen get to know about inner painting. Subsequently, RuChen enrolled into Wang Xi San’s school of inner painting and started her journey as an inner painting artist. RuChen married in 2004 and with her earning as an apprentice artist, life was simple but happy. However, in 2005 her father was diagnosed with leukemia and pass on after a year. The passing of her father is extremely sad for Master Li as she had always enjoy the company of her father.
RuChen’s father is an art lover and spend his free time drawing and practicing calligraphy. His love of art has profound influence to Master Li and her brother since young. RuChen still remember the time when she and her father will spend time painting the beautiful landscape of their home town together. Master Li also practices Chinese calligraphy since young and has been given numerous awards from various calligraphy competition.
RuChen’s talent is discovered very early in Wang Xi San art school. She was quickly identified as one of the potential artist that can make it to the top and was personally coach by Wang Xi San himself. True enough, with her hard work and careful coaching by the top artists, RuChen gradually became one of the top inner painting calligrapher and her works became very sort after by serious snuff bottle collectors.
RuChen effort and talent has been confirmed and rewarded by the high prices that her bottle can fetch in recent auctions. Her work has fetch RMB70,000 in a recent auction in ShangHai. This put her works in a price range of many matured and well known inner painters.
RuChen is already a mother of two. It is always a challenge between spend enough time with her family and concentrating on her masterpieces. Luckily, her husband is very supportive of her work and helps her with a lot of household chores. When ask about her family. RuChen’s usual reply will be “I am very lucky to have a supportive husband, and I do miss the time with my children!”
Translated from an article published by Yi Ju Art
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