Pencil Sharpeners in Ceramic Heads of Little Chinese Girls

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I found these, and had to buy them.  The painting is pretty amazing. I think it’s 1970s or 1980s imported from China.

Before Chinese goods were integrated into the global system, China was still a relatively isolated Communist country. Their exports were considered shoddy by global capitalist standards, but the labor was paid far less. So you’d end up with products like these: a weak box, but with pretty artwork. Look at it. It’s four colors of ink, but the registration (the alignment between ink layers) is off.

Likewise, these heads seem fragile, as if ready to break apart… but the painting on them is amazing and detailed. The hair is drawn by hand, using brush technique. The humanity of the artist comes through, in a way that you don’t see so often today.

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I believe these different heads represent some different ethnic groups within China.

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