Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chinese Liberation Army storms Malacañang

The history of ivory carving in China dates back to the earliest time of Chinese culture. Originally, Chinese characters were not only carved on bones and tortoise shells but also on ivory. Such long tradition of ivory carving came to an end in the early 1980s due to the ban on ivory trade. Surely, some illicit ivory carving still exists since ‘niche’ money doesn’t care about bans, ethics and morals.

However, one of China’s outstanding ivory carvings can be seen in Manila. It surely is not as elaborated as the ivory carving donated by China to the United Nations in 1974 to celebrate the Chengtu-Kunming railway. This railway sculpture translates the engineering masterpiece into fine art. It is said that the railway sculpture was carved from eight elephant tusks and that 98 people worked on it for more than two years. You will even be able to spot the passengers inside the train of this landscape carving.

The ivory carving in Manila is even more interesting since it highlights not the engineering results of China’s socialist revolution but the revolution itself. Like the numerous statues glorifying the great proletarian revolution throughout China—my favorite one is in Shenyang—the ivory carving in Goldenberg mansion of Malacañang (i.e. one the guesthouses within the presidential compound in Manila) is showing the battlefield against the enemy. This enemy is Western capitalism.

What a great object as a state gift from the People’s Republic of China to then President Marcos (or was it Imelda?), the defender of anti-socialist movements in East Asia and friend of (crony) capitalism.

Photo from November 2006 at Goldenberg Mansion (San Miguel, Manila) which is called the 'big antique’ by Imelda Marcosbut that's another story....

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At February 19, 2007 at 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know if it is related to First Lady Imelda Marcos' visit to China in September 1974, which will pave the way for formal recognition by the Philippines of the People's Republic of China (in exchange for a stop of the financial and logistical aid given by China to the NPA)...

At February 19, 2007 at 10:43 PM, Blogger brommel said...

Great. Stop infiltration and military aid but get revolutionary symbols. Already very pragmatic. Well done, China (hand).


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