Stone carving style is influenced by many factors, such as tradition, available tools and material. The “Contemporary Chinese Carvings: Classic Concepts” exhibition highlights 20th century Chinese carvings of agate. Although the agate itself is most likely from Brazil, the carvings feature fine detail and traditionally Chinese forms and motifs.
On display in the Mineralogical Museum at Penny Hall, the exhibition is from the collection of Francis Hueber and is curated by Sharon Fitzgerald.
While the Chinese tradition of carving jade and other stone materials stretches back thousands of years, the modern development of high-speed diamond drill bits has made the carving of harder materials like quartz and its varieties possible. Hueber, a retired curator of botany at the Smithsonian Institution, purchased the carvings in China on various trips throughout the last 15 years.