Crystalclear view of miniature worlds


By Xu Junqian in Shanghai
BEIJING, Jan. 12 — It may take an innocent yet transcendental eye “to see a world in a grain of sand”, as the English poet William Blake wrote in the opening of his Auguries of Innocence.
But to appreciate a world “miniaturized” into palm-sized crystal balls, where the camelia blooms, the bee nestles and the aurora borealis shines in a Shanghai art gallery, it’s just about “taking a close look, quietly”.
With the century-old French glassmaker Crystal Saint-Louis bringing some of its “creme de la creme” paperweights to the metropolis, a small domed world that might be just as marvelous as the real one is unveiled. The weeklong paperweight exhibition, hosted by Galerie Dumonteil in Sinan Mansions, features a collection of 30 decorative crystal balls, both vintage pieces and contemporary creations, selected from the cristallerie’s long history, since 1586.
Shanghai marks the third stop, after Paris and Tokyo, of this traveling exhibition, which should not only “showcase the iconic crystal of the brand, but also the longstanding craftsmanship and an important representative of French prestige”.
“It is an obligation to have it in Shanghai,” Pierre M Dumonteil, the founder and owner of the hosting gallery, says. And the reasons are “many”, as the town can “feel the temperature of the world for today and the future”. And the relationship between Chinese people and paper and ink is so strong that the paperweights on display may be “more exciting” for them than for Europeans, even though computers have become the center of families around the world.
The exhibits, with an average price of about 25,000 yuan [db:内容2]