The microscopic carving is a kind of technique that is fine and exquisite. It generally refers to very small circular carving, protruded carving and openwork carving (pierced carving) etc. Microscopic carving techniques can carve on ivory chip, bamboo chip in size of a rice grain or millimetric hair. Only with the help of magnifying lens or microscopes can people see the contents carved on the microscopic carving works. Microscopic carvings can be divided into stereoscopic carvings and flat carving of paintings and calligraphy. The flat carving of paintings and calligraphy is also called “tiny sculptures of paintings and calligraphy” that are engraved and belong to intaglio and low relief. While the stereoscopic carvings mean the circular carving, protruded carving and openwork carving that belong to cameo. Microscopic carvings are not only microcosmic art, but also involve the art of painting, calligraphy and sculpture.
The microscopic carving is particular about its material selection. It is required that the stone must be perfectly formed. And the tools of the microscopic carving must be the special thin knife with fine and shape tool nose that the carver can use it accurately.
The microscopic carving skills mostly spread around Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Shaanxi etc. Gansu features the microscopic carvings works carved on the surface of the calabash.
Chang Shiqi in Hubei, Zhou Changxing in Shanghai, Huang Guorong in Fujian are all national-level masters of microscopic carvings.