The ivories have a long history, dating back to 7,000 years ago at the site of Hemudu culture. As early as Shang and Zhou dynasties, ivory and horn carvings was growing prosperously; till Tang and Song dynasties, the carving art and crafts had become mature. In Ming dynasty the ivory carvings became more popular. They were listed as treasures of art, even were being used by the rulers as a symbol of hierarchy.
In recent years, with the lack of ivory and horn resources and the increasing protection of wild animals, the scarcity of ivory is growing. Plus collection as a kind of elegant recreation and investing activity have become more common, amateur collectors and their collecting species and categories are increasing. Including ivory carvings, some very rare arts and crafts in the past can finally be attempted by collectors. Therefore, the magnificent of art of ivory carvings has become prominent.
This quality work, focusing the top 50 traded ivory carving of 2011 spring auctions, shows the most traditional means and high artistic standard of Ming and Qing ivory carvings