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Gourd-Shaped Articles

Paoqi (Molded Gourd-Shaped Articles) is a unique industrial craft in China and it combines manpower and nature. It is said that ladles and musical instruments made of gourds came into being as early as in the primitive society. Paoqi was a special industrial artwork that appeared at the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It was initiated by eunuch Liang Jiugog and the royal court attached great importance to it later.

There are two ways for the making of Paoqi. The first one is that mature gourds are processed into different shapes of articles and the techniques include round carving, embossment and engraving. The second one is that growing gourds are covered with modules to make them shape like the modules.

Paoqi falls into two categories according to its functions - for practical use and for ornament. These molded gourd-shaped articles are of fine design and reflect the trend and taste of that period. They are one of the treasures of Chinese cultural relics. In addition, Paoqi has its unique artistic value besides its use value. Those Paoqi articles after fingering by their collectors take on simplicity and elegance.

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