Fruit pit carving

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Fruit pit carving (simplied Chinese:果核雕刻; traditional Chinese:果核雕刻; pinyin: guǒhédiāokè) is a Chinese folk handicraft in which the pits of peach, apricot, olive, Myrica rubra kernels, walnuts, and others are used to create minute patterns of the Buddha, nature, or the Chinese zodiac[1] that are said to repel evil spirits. The carved pits are also used to create jewelry and decorations.[2] Olive core carving has recently been recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage in Guangdong Province, China. However, the art is now facing extinction because few black olive trees are planted in China and there are very few people interested in learning this art.[3]


Fruit pit carving began in the Spring and Autumn Period (BC. 770- BC. 476), and the earliest example of the art dates from the Song Dynasty (960-1279), roughly 1000 years ago. However, it did not become popular until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). At that time, even the emperor owned master carvings used as aristocratic decoration. Fruit pit carving became even more popular in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), but after the First and Second Opium Wars its popularity began to decline.[4]

Famous Craftsmen and Works[edit]

Wang Shuyuan[edit]

Wang Shuyuan, a Ming Dynasty craftsman from what is now Changshu, Jiangsu Province, created one of the art's masterpieces, a three-centimeter-long peach pit boat in Chibi, Hubei Province, at nighttime. The minute detail of the carved pit includes four working windowpanes, five human figures, flower patterns, and poems. The piece is remembered in "Nut Carving Boat," a literary passage included in some Chinese middle school textbooks.

Chen Zihe[edit]

Lived in Weifang, Shandong Province during the Qing dynasty.

Chen Zuzhang[edit]

Chen is a court artist in the Qing Dynasty, best known for Boat Carved from an Olive Stone. Today, the work is part of the collection of National Palace Museum

Du Langui[edit]

Lived from 1881 to 1960 in Weifang, Shandong Province.

Ding Huaizeng[edit]

Lived from 1878 to 1940 in Weifang, Shandong Province. Was commemorated for one of his carvings at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in 1915.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [ 徐华铛, 翛然, 姜跃进《苏州橄榄核雕揽胜》]
  2. ^ Wang Ping (1999), 100 Chinese Folk Handicrafts, Guangxi Renming Press. p. 140. ISBN 7-219-03925-5/K·766
  3. ^ 广州英语早报 GZ Morning Post, Friday, March 23, 2012
  4. ^ Mehr von: Shandong Dazhong Media Co., Ltd