According to the history record, Chinese ivory craftwork has a history of 3000 years. Guangzhou ivory carving turned up in Jin Dynasty about 2000 years ago. Ivory carving of Guangzhou was prosperous at the later stage of Ming Dynasty. After development through ages, it became gradually famous specialty in Guangzhou.
There are 5 pieces of big ivory of a bundle in the unearthed relics from the Nanyue King Tomb of the Western Han Dynasty, the longest one is up to 126cm. According to some identification reports from experts, these ivories might be transported all the long journey from Africa through the Silk Road on the Sea. And some ivory portrayed containers for holding wine, ivory chips for counting and fragmentary ivory carving utensil were also unearthed. It is obvious that these ivories were imported as the raw materials for caving. If the identification is true, then the history of ivory carving of Guangzhou is much longer.
Ivory carvings of Guangzhou are characters, ornaments, landscape bonsai, flowers, birds and the four treasures of the study (writing brush, ink, stick, ink slab and paper). There is a Ivory Craftwork Company in Da Xin Road of Guangzhou. This factory was already famous both home and abroad in 60es and 70es of last century. Ivory carvings are not only appreciation articles but also utility products such as folding fan, lamp, cigarette holder, pencil vase, comb, chopsticks, bookmark, toothpick and Chinese chess etc. A great number of people to Guangzhou like to bring some ivory carvings because they are convenient taking and impressive.
The ivory micro caving of Guangzhou is also famous in China. At the beginning of 1930s, Mr. Feng Gongxia, a famous micro carving artist of Guangzhou carved the whole text with 154 Chinese characters of the testament of Mr. Sun Yat Sen on an ivory as small as a grain of rice. He also carved the Communist Manifesto up to 25000 characters on a piece of ivory as big as a 64-mo paper (half of an A5 paper). His son Mr. Feng Shaoxia is also a micro carving master. He inherited the technique of his father and carved the eighteen arhat statues of different vivid images on an ivory as small as a grain of rice. It takes one’s breath away to see those wonderful microcarving articals excelling nature which represents the highest level of ivory carving of Guangzhou.