Small Skills, Special Effects: Unusual Chinese Works of Art

Small Skills, Special Effects: Unusual Chinese Works of Art
  • Closed
September 7, 2012 to March 10, 2013
  • Level 1, Levy Gallery


Imagine you were a craftsman during China’s Qing Dynasty several hundred years ago. You would create paintings, fans, snuff bottles or amulets. Despite your humble status, you would endeavour to make your creations stand out by imbuing them with a remarkable level of expert craftsmanship through design, technique, or the actual materials used. 

Then imagine you could step forward a few centuries and see this exhibit at the ROM. Guess what? You’ve come up in the world! You would be amazed to see how your work, and the work of the generations after you, has continued to impact Chinese art over time. You’d be proud to be recognized for the pride, imagination, and devotion evident in your work. 

These 70 rare objects come from a range of collections and time periods, from the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE) to the early 21st century. From intricately carved ivory objects to micro-calligraphy, finger paintings to folding fans to silver amulets, Small Skills, Special Effects demonstrates ingenuity and an influential tradition of Chinese craftsmanship which stands out for its dependence upon artistic self-discipline and dedication.

Authored by: Cheryl Fraser