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Chinese Stone Carving in New York - Singing in Stone

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 4/20/200 - www.Littleviews.com ]

See more Chinese stone carvings.

>>  The first thing you'll notice when talking in English with native Chinese people is that they respond in short sentences. Few words. Deep meaning.

Jennifer Chen, Manager of CSC Gifts Trading, made me aware of the depths of brevity when she enthusiastically told me that the full meaning of a 2000 year old epic poem was carved onto a stone fan and another equally famous Chinese epic was carved on a small replica of a sailboat. A few images do, indeed, convey thousands of words.

But poems aren't the only carvings displayed. There are flowers, forests, animals, fruit, mountains, people and Buddhas, all done by master designers and carvers using various types of stone that is quarried throughout China.

CSC Gifts Trading displays hundreds of these delicate, hand-carved Chinese stones on neat, dust-free shelves. Jennifer's father, famed stone designer Sixuan Chen, is responsible for bringing together this remarkable collection together.

"Other shops, even those in China," Jennifer says "only have a few pieces." Most commonly, only 12 or 15 sculptures are seen at a time, and in China, those pieces usually represent the work of local artists. It's her father's art world connections that allow the family to display a complete variety of stone carvings by China's best designers and carvers.

During my visit, Jennifer showed me several beautifully illustrated Chinese-language books on the subject, so naturally, I thought it'd be easy to find out more through the Internet and bookstores. Much to my surprise, little (if anything) is available in English. What you might see concentrates on Jade and doesn't begin to touch the subject of stone carving.

Hopefully, the pictures and descriptions that follow will intrigue you. The artistry and ingenuity is amazing.

To visit CSC Gifts Trading, take the Number 7 subway to Flushing, the last stop on the line. Flushing is a modern, sunny city, heavily populated by Chinese. When you get off the subway, walk a half block to 40-10 Main Street. CSC Gifts Trading, Inc. is located in back of a dry grocer that features a wide variety of dried fruit, nuts and roots.

After you're done looking (and perhaps, "buying"), ask for restaurant recommendations. Flushing rivals China for excellent, authentic delicacies and their Chinese restaurants are considered to be better than in Manhattan.

At Jennifer's suggestion, I tried Full Ho Seafood Restaurant at 135-11 40th Road, which is just around the corner. The lunch hour was busy, however, the staff for this large restaurant was able to keep up. I shared a formal, round table with other families, all of whom were Chinese. Choices are delivered to the table, although you can also order through a menu. Don't hesitate to ask your tablemates for recommendations as some of the delicacies look mysterious due to their wrappings.

Questions? Comments?
Karen Little

Article and photos by Karen Little. First published on 4/20/2001. All rights reserved by www.LittleViews.com.

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