The carved figure is that of a little monk. With its big belly, it is able to contain whatever injustice there is in the world, so they said of monks with a big heart.
Huang Huali is actually a wood commonly used to make furniture in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Ming emperors started using Huang Huali furniture some 600 years ago. With the relentless felling of the trees, Huang Huali wood was almost exhausted during the Qing dynasty. Fortunately, the Qing emperors preferred the other type of wood called Zitan (from India) more than the Huang Huali. There are still some old Huang Huali furniture form the Ming dynasty on display in museums all over the world.
As the price of Ming and Qing antique furniture escalated over a few hundred times in the last decades, people begin to take note of this wood. It was long considered that this wood, Huang Huali, has already depleted due to massive tree cutting during the Ming and Qing dynasties by the Imperial court for building palaces and furniture.
In the 90s, it was reported that the trees that produced the wood were sighted in Hainan, a small island in the south of the mainland. Ever since the report was published, people began to hunt for this wood there causing a flood of dealings in the wood. Many villagers became rich overnight and businessmen reaped even greater profits form these dealings. Eventually the price of this wood reaches 20000 RMB per kg.
|The story on Huang Huali|
|A branch of Huang Huali being cut|
|Good wood seen after the cut|
Good quality Huang Huali appears in the centre and is surrounded by a layer of white wood. Just imagine, large pieces of wood is required to make furniture. The trees have to be at least 400 years old before the trunks reach the size required for large furniture like beds and table. Hence Huang Huali furniture is very costly.
|Huang Huali chests|
|Furniture made from Huang Huali|
|Scientific name of Huang Huali|
|Huang Huali pot auctioned for 16000 RMB|
|A brush container made of Huang Huali, 180000 RMB|
|Beams and columns sold for millions|
I am glad to own at least a small carving of Huang Huali. Although the Hainan state has began a tree planting program, it will take at least another 100 years to have the trees to grow to a reasonable size for wood carvings and another 500 years to make into useful furniture. I can't that long.
|Huang Huali trees for sale.|