When you hear the word “masterpiece,” you most likely think of some famous painting painted in the 15th or 16th century like the Mona Lisa. So it’s always nice to know that artistic masterpieces are being created even today. Take, for example, Chinese artist Zheng Chunhui’s breathtaking 12.2-meter-long (over 40 ft) wooden carving – it is a modern masterpiece of wood sculpture.
There are lots of things about Chunhui’s amazing sculpture that make it unforgettable. It has entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest continuous wooden sculpture in the world – it was carved out of a single tree trunk. Between its size and its intricate detailing, it’s no surprise that it took Chunhui four years to complete it. The sculpture features buildings, trees, mountains, rivers, boats, bridges, clouds, and even 550 little individual hand-carved people.
Chunhui’s sculpture takes a slightly new twist on the Chinese tradition of enriching and adding on to ancient masterpieces. The scene it depicts is based on “Along the River During the Qinming Festival,” a long scroll painting by Chinese artist Zhang Zeduan that is almost 1,000 years old and depicts the lives of both the rich and the poor during the Qingming Festival. Other chinese artists throughout the ages have reinterpreted and added on to this work with cultural elements from their own centuries.