The power of polished metal to reflect light, its luminance, is one of its most prized qualities. Decorative objects such as this finely engraved Chinese waterpipe seem to glow as light reflects off of their finely polished surfaces.
This pipe is an example of the technical abilities and themes of metallurgists, many of whom were based in Guangzhou and Peking. Made of paktong, this piece is decorated with an array of techniques including engraving, chasing and stamping. The artist adorned the pipe with floral motifs, good-luck symbols, and other designs.
(Curated by Eric Feingold)