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Moon Crystal
Moon Crystal, Late 18th century, Qianlong Period (1736-1795), or 19th century
Chinese
Rock crystal (quartz) with incised decoration; wood stand
10 7/8 x 9 5/8 inches (27.6 x 24.4 cm)
Gift of Major General and Mrs. William Crozier, 1944
1944-20-8a,b
[ More Details ]

Looking Questions

  • Of what material is this object made?
  • Can you find Chinese writing? Clouds? The moon?
  • Can you find a rabbit wrapped in clouds?
  • How was this object made? For whom?

Art Activity: Soap Carving

The sculpture Moon Crystal was carefully carved from a hard stone, rock crystal. Carving is called a subtractive process because you start with a large, blank form, and subtract or carve what you do not want. Try carving a bar of soap free of perfumes and lotions. Sketch a simple object, like a face or an animal, on paper the same size as your soap bar. Remember to sketch both the front and back of your objects. Use a pencil to etch the design into the soap. Use carving materials (toothpicks, paper clips, Popsicle sticks, and plastic knives and forks) to slowly shave tiny bits of soap. Go slowly. Cutting away too much or too quickly will result in a broken bar of soap!

Research Project: Rock Crystal

Moon Crystal is made of rock crystal, a hard stone and a transparent form of the mineral quartz. Research rock crystal, how it is formed in the earth, and how it is carved. What makes it so rare? What makes it so difficult to carve? Be sure not to confuse rock crystal with the name "crystal" that is sometimes used to describe glass. Students might compare and contrast the material and methods of manufacture of rock crystal objects and glass objects.

Group Activity: Rabbits or Hares in World Mythology

Rabbits and hares have been featured in the mythology and art of many cultures. Divide students into small groups, and assign each group a culture to investigate for folktales and images of rabbits. Look particularly at stories from China, Korea, Japan, India, and Native American, African, and American cultures. Have each group choose one story to read or act for the whole class. Discuss the similarities and differences of the stories, and what role the rabbit plays in each.
 

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