Sunday, 19 March 2017

Chicken blood story

Recently I spotted this carving of chicken blood stone in an art-n-craft shop. This stone has splashes of red hue that resembles chicken blood on the surface, hence the name chicken blood stone.  The carving of the stand also looks good and skillfully made.

A small carving of chicken blood stone
Chicken blood stones are sought after in the world of seal stones and carvings. With its attractive chicken blood colour on the surface, people of China have been using this stone as the material to make seals. Some seal stones with more than 70% of the surface covered with red hue are considered rare and cost a lot of money.

When China established diplomatic tie with Japan, Premier Zhou Enlai presented a pair of seal stones made from chicken blood stones. When US President Reagan visited China, he was also presented with seal stones cut from chicken blood stone. You can see the value of this stone to the people of China.
Zhou Enlai meeting with Japanese PM

Full body red seal stones presented to Japanese PM

There is a trader who later turned into a vivid collector of chicken blood stones. He owns a museum where he exhibits numerous artifacts made of chicken blood stones, from seal stones, large carvings to huge raw stones.
A huge raw stone in the museum
There is an interesting story as to why from a trader of chicken blood stones, he became China's well known collector of chicken blood stones.

He is a native of Qintian (place famous for Qintian seal stones) and started off as a trader in Qintian stones. When he first saw the beauty of the chicken blood stones, he switched to selling these and started making handsome profits. It was $30 per kg and later went to as high as hundreds of thousands per kg as the supply dwindled.

In early 1990s, he bought a raw stone for $20,000 and he bought a save and kept it there. 2 years later, a friend offered him $200,000 for the stone.

A raw stone kept in the save 
As a trader, he was happy to see that his investment paid off. He took his friend to his house to see the stone. Unfortunately he could not find the key to open the save. He thought that he could have lost it when he moved house some time ago. Since he couldn't retrieve the stone, the deal was off.

A few years later another friend offered him 2 million to buy the stone. He suddenly realized that these stones have great value. He then got a technician to have the save cut opened. He retrieved the stone and started to admire the splashes of red hue on the surface, the mystery of the chicken blood. He decided not to sell the stone. He even started to collect them in large quantities.

He even kept the cut-open save in his bedroom to remind him that these stones are worthy to collect.

To make money in the 1990s, he sold a lot of quality stones to collectors in Taiwan. He started to buy back these stones he sold to Taiwan. Of course he had to pay large sum of money for buying back  the stones.
Stone he bought back from Taiwan
He once had a huge stone where he engaged artist to carve a hundred horses on it. At one time, he was heavily in debt. When he exhausted his ways to find fresh cash to pay his debt, he cut 2 thirds of the stone and sold it to pay his creditors. He managed to get back a hundred million to settle his debt. Now, he is still in possession of the other 1/3 of the stone but it has only 8 horses on it.

8 horses carving

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