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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

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Meet Bixie, earliest root carving work discovered in China

Published Aug 2, 2022

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The Jingzhou Museum in Jingzhou city, central China’s Hubei Province keeps a root carving handiwork which is believed to be the earliest root carving work that has ever been discovered in the country.

Called “Bixie” (meaning driving out evil spirits), the handiwork piece was unearthed at the site of Mashan No.1 tomb belonging to the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.), being 69.5 centimeters long and 40.5 centimeters tall.

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The root carving piece looks like a gecko, with the head part in the shape of a tiger head while the body part in the shape of a dragon. The wooden gecko has bamboo-shaped legs. Three of these legs are on the ground, supporting the gecko, while the fourth leg is raised in the air as though it is getting ready to move forward.

The leg parts of the root carving work are respectively carved with images of a snake, a lizard, a bird and a cicada, to convey the food chain concept. This indicates the simple yet valuable ecological consciousness the ancient craftsman embraced in creating the work.

“Bixie” is also the source of inspiration of the logo of a root carving art association in China.

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