Whereas Vernon’s sculpture extended out, the Chinese cage ball works within. I obtained this one while a scholar in residence at Hong Kong University. Made often in jade, the nested balls raise the technical question of how it is possible to construct such a thing and the philosophical issue of its meaning. On the former, the technique is similar to the “carving in” of the pliers and chains, but the form it takes is more reflective of Chinese belief that wisdom comes from introspection. With implications drawn from Confucian philosophy, the nested ball forces looking deeper and deeper inside a natural sphere rather than reaching out in wider and wider linear fashion that appears unnatural. The color of the material adds to the metaphor of naturalness.
Photo by Simon J. Bronner, Ph.D.