Embossed delicate patterns on eggshell, some with barely the thickness of two hairs, is an art form like no other, the origins and mastery of which dates back to the 14th century and the Ming Dynasty in China.
In China’s early history, it was customary to present red eggs as a gift on weddings, birthday parties and childbirth celebrations. Eventually, merchants made these eggs more attractive and memorable by painting bird, floral and fauna patterns on them. Today, the egg is often hollowed out and intricate patterns are then carved onto the shell’s surface.
No matter which method of carving the artist employs, the removal of egg liquid and disinfection processes needs to be done before the carving. A hole is poked at one end of the egg with great care so as not to crack the precious shell.
There are usually two simple tools associated with this art form: a burin and a shovel knife. Other tools include pencil, eraser, knife, whetstone and nicking tool.
Carving techniques include: positive carving, negative carving and line carving. Each finished egg-carving product is an exquisite and unique work of art.
Scrambled, fried or hard-boiled are, it would appear, are only three of the many ways one can experience the ancient, mysterious and quite incredible egg.