Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Shard Box

There's an interesting little shop in Beijing that specializes in taking treasures that have been turned to trash and transforming them back into treasure.

During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Chinese citizens were, shall we say, highly encouraged, to get rid of their antique porcelain. As a result, many people smashed their beautiful collections and tossed them into the trash. The owners of this shop, The Shard Box, began collecting these remnants and, in an effort to "bring them to life again," have created beautiful trinket boxes by fixing the salvaged pieces to silver or lacquered wood boxes. In their words, "The Shard Box is not only a collection of antique porcelain, but also a collection of Chinese history."

For the kids and me, a visit to this small but significant specialty store served not only as the fulfillment of our art requirement for the week (the museum quality of these samples kept our eyes busy for over an hour), but also a unique opportunity to feel a connection with a profoundly sad time in Chinese history . In addition, we had the ability to purchase a piece of that history that we can keep with us as a reminder of the true beauty of the freedoms that we often take for granted back home.



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