Chinese Woodland Sculpture from Dongyang, Zhejiang Province
For all lovers of craftsmanship, of art or simply beautiful things, buying statues or sculptures made from home-made wood can be difficult. Nowadays, there are unfortunately few shops specializing in the sale of handicrafts, and when one finds one, it is not always guaranteed that the products sold are really ...
Of course, in order to wipe out all the risks and to be sure to buy a genuine statue sculpted by hand, you can go directly to the artist, but this is not always within reach of all ...
Imagine yourself in France ... A maroquinier-tanneur, for example, will be able to make you a leather bag, or even shoes. However, the latter will not be able to make a barrel, a terracotta or blown glass sculpture. This is exactly the same for the craftsmen! So, flee these large stores that sell all kinds of objects in order to focus on small shops or workshops that specialize in one area only.
Enter the statue, and touch it from parts and others. Are the finishes detailed and meticulous or grossly performed? Is it heavy or light for a piece of this size? Is the statue soft to the touch or rough?
The attributes of a sculpture can vary from one artist/workshop to another, however, these attributes often return:
The grain of wood (or fibre) must be visible on any wooden sculpture, even if it has been painted or varnished. The same goes for the rings. If you expose the piece under a strong light, the grain and the antlers of the wood should be visible.
A contrario, if you can't observe this, or you see traces of mussels along the statue (often on the 2 sides), this means that the sculpture is not craft ...
Many craftsmen sign their works by making their mark somewhere on the sculpture, others prefer to leave the empty statue of any brand in order not to harm the aesthetics of the statue. It depends on the artist and the place where you buy the statue. In China or Asia, for example, the statues of the Buddha or other deities are very rarely signed by their authors, since the artist's primary purpose is to represent him at best and to pay tribute to him. One Chinese artist explained to me that signing on a statue of the Buddha would be considered a lack of respect.
An established shop or a serious seller would not lie about the authenticity of their product, or it could have negative repercussions for them in the future, especially nowadays with communication tools such as the internet and social networks.
However, if you are on a brocante or a flea market, be very vigilant, since these vendors are not established at a specific point.
The Internet is a great place to find statues and craft sculptures. Artisans and sculptors who do not have the resources and financial resources to make themselves known, many now turn to the Internet, in order to give visibility to their product at national or international level, in particular through platforms such as Etsy, A little market, eBay or Amazon.
There, too, there is little chance of you being lied to, since the sale of handicrafts is the livelihood of these online shops. Lying to customers would be a dangerous game for such shops.
Make sure you have a few points before ordering: Does the shop have a written return and refund policy? Are payments secured via Paypal or another online payment system?
Once you have received the wooden sculpture at home, you can then apply all the tips explained above!
And for the pleasure of the eyes, here are some wood carvings from Dongyang, China, a place considered by many to be the cradle of the most beautiful sculptures in the world:
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