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A Vessel to Carry Riches - A Symbol to Carry Culture

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The Immortal Virtues of the Chinese Ding

The True Meaning of the "Ding" in Chinese Culture

In interpreting clues of our history left by our ancestors, we strive to cherish and preserve cultural wisdoms that define who we are today and guide our future.  Why the ding is such a sacred symbol of virtue and honor is revealed in the many artistic expressions of the artifact.  This year, LIULI studio travels back in time yet again to unearth the secrets of culture and knowledge and combine them with contemporaneity to craft something both that speaks to heritage as well as uniting a culture in modernity.

The Nine Ding of Profound Virtue series draws from emperor Xia Yu’s most profound feat of symbolic expression, perfecting the expression of their spirit in crystal glass.  Four millennia ago, a culturally united civilization met on nine stoic principles that guide a nation of peoples to harmony and everlasting balance.  In appreciating the splendor of these contemporary works, one realizes that after four thousand years of technology and change those very principles remain unchanged today.  Being liberal but with dignity, possessing a mild yet firm disposition, acting straightforward but with kindness… these are all strengths in the eye of a respectable nation, organization, or family.

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Whether your life’s commitment is in art or politics, in medicine or technology, LIULI studio artists recreate a vision drawn from millennia-old wisdom that guides you in times fraught with turbulence and unrest.  The modern-day artifacts in this collection, crafted to be artworks that move the heart and the spirit, reminds that especially in an age rife with trouble, it is our responsibility to uphold the culture and virtues passed down by our forefathers.

LIULI presents… “The Nine Ding of Profound Virtue.” 

A Vessel to Carry Riches - A Symbol to Carry Culture

 The True Meaning of the “Ding” in Chinese Culture

Tradition teaches us many things.  It teaches us how to care for our land and one another, imparting the wisdom of those who have come before us.  It teaches us the histories—both written and oral—of our people, using stories to define and identify who we are today.  Tradition is the power behind which new stories are built, and old ones are retold.  Bringing all of those values together is art.  What we describe now as “artifacts” of ancient cultures can be understood as one and the same as the “art” of modern culture.  They are symbols of our way of life.

Of the many artifacts which tell of heroes and legends that came before us is the ancient Chinese “Ding.”  This cauldron-like vessel, often displayed as a mantlepiece with which to honor ancestors and the heavens, comes in many forms—each indicative of an era, ruler, or zeitgeist.  The vessel has been used to carry riches and wealth, containing the things that we hold dearest to our hearts.  However, the vessel is often used as a decorative statement, containing what seems to be nothing inside.  On such occasions we find that what is contained within the artifact is in fact the intangible… the spiritual.  As such, Dings are most often associated with being the most sacred of family heirlooms.

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These values transgress mere codes of conducts to reflect all of human nature and a harmonious civilization.  The dings serve as artifacts representing our deepest principles, drawing upon those principles to guide our strength.  Four millennia later, we may find that not only have these values been unchanged, but they are more crucial than ever in aligning human paths with one another.  That is why such art, artifacts, and symbols not only carry our greatest riches, but our deepest values.  They are the symbols that carry our culture and wisdom.  LIULI aspires to not only pay respect to that timeless tradition, but to honor it in every act of creation we make, continuing to create art for the good of the heart.

 


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Artist/Founder Loretta H. Yang leads a team of experienced artisans to create arts that honor the richness of cultural heritage and value.

Step No. 1: Design and sculpting

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Step 2 of the process involves coating our original clay sculpture in silicone. Layer after layer (3 to 7 layers) is fastidiously coated to produce a negative mold, a crucial step in capturing the prevision of the sculpture. Each layer must dry completely before additional layer is applied, thickness must be uniform to prevent leakage of wax. Once complete, the clay is removed to reveal a negative silicone mold.

Step No. 2: Silicone molding

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Pour molten wax into the negative silicone mold.

Step No. 3: Infusion of molten wax. Fill wax into a negative mold.

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Once wax has solidified and cooled, release the wax form by carefully peeling back the silicone mold. Like a butterfly molting, the silicon is shed to reveal a positive wax form.

Step No. 4: Shedding of silicon mold to obtain the wax form

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A careful refinement of the wax sculpture. Because every microinch and subtlety plays its own role in the grand scheme of beauty. Our artists refine the wax mold to its final perfection.

Step No. 5: Wax form refinement; removing imperfections

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The wax mold is placed on a wooden plank in a metal container and plaster is poured and solidified. Embedding wax form with fire-resistant plaster.

Step No. 6: Coating the wax sculpture with plaster to form a refractory mold

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Wax is steamed out of the plaster under high heat yielding a negative plaster mold.

Step No. 7: Removal of wax with steam—the essence of the “lost-wax” process

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Liuli ingredients are created through unique firing and processing of glass. Color and size appropriate pieces are placed within the plaster and fired.

Step No 8: Choosing color; kiln firing

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Fire and melt. Under intense heat, a new vision of transparency and clarity is born.

Step No. 9: Re-firing at 1,400 degrees Celsius

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Extreme patience and care are necessary when removing the plaster to prevent damage.

Step No. 10: Removal of plaster mold

When the art pieces emerge, our masters step in to carefully chip away the plaster mold. Like excavating fragile archaeological relics, one false move and you're left with broken shards.

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First comes die-cutting - smoothing the crystal down to the last microinch. Rough polish, removal of excess support, refinement and fine surface polish with a high-speed fabric wheel.

Step No. 11: Retouching of details; burnishing and polishing

Our artist refines and re-polishes each and every detail yet again.

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An etched number on the base of each piece indicates its limited edition and reminds us to never stop creating. After the engraving - an official LIULI artwork is born.

Step No.12: Final inspection; etching of serial number; packaging