The pistachios of the emperor

The pistachios of the emperor

Pistachios were among the emperor's favorite fruits and in China they have always been used to make desserts.

But where do you keep these delights to offer to the court?

If you go to the Beijing Eight Imperial Handicrafts Museum, you can find a splendid example of a lacquered box with gems set that was used by the Ming imperial court to hold these delights in the imperial rooms.

A red box lacquered in red and gold and decorated with stones set to create different depths. The outer box contains overlapping drawers, also decorated with set stones, each of which could be used for different sweets.

A real jewel that tells of the luxury but also of the refinement of the emperors of the Ming dynasty. They built this monastery, within which there is also a fortress for the imperial guards.

Pai di Studio Tiramisu
 The imperial craftsmen who worked in this monastery were engaged in 8 arts of rare difficulty and had to create refined objects to reflect the power and importance of the Chinese emperors.

These 8 arts were the setting of gems on gilded lacquered objects, filigree, the art of Chinese cloissonè vases, carving on ivory, carving on jade, lacquered reliefs, imperial embroidery and imperial carpets.

The consecration of the importance of these 8 forms of craftsmanship is due to the Ming dynasty which, to meet the needs of the imperial family and the Court, established a department led by a group of imperial master craftsmen.

This department remained active until the Qing dynasty, the last feudal dynasty of China, but then it was cancelled and the artisans were forced to leave the court and live among the common people. This is how the imperial arts spread throughout China and their techniques have been handed down to this day.

To give an idea of ​​the mastery of these arts, to make a table decorated with lacquered inlays it is necessary to create a layer of lacquer 2 cm thick with more than 200 overlapping layers: practically at least a year and a half of work.

Otto artigianali imperiali

Today the Eight Imperial Handicrafts Museum has opened in Beijing and we can admire many of these masterpieces, including an emperor's dress. The masters are back to being an example and we can buy their masterpieces or go to the shop to buy them.

But the road is long: it takes at least 3 and a half years of apprenticeship to become a craftsman!

Meanwhile, we can follow PAI as he wanders around Beijing, admire the masterpieces of Chinese craftsmanship and listen to this story from the video of his visit

Written by:
Claudia Bettiol

Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in...

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