Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Amazing Fretworks: Carving Bird Cages

Couple days ago, I was informed by a friend of mine, he said that he had received new cages. They are just coming from the carver & fabricator, 'fresh from the oven'. He invite me to come and take a look at them. He knows that I am a fret-works lover. So, today I come and visit his shop in the bird market, located in the east part of town.In the mid of the day, I arrived, as I have called him before for appointment and to ensure that he is available at that time, and gladly he greets me. After a little bit chit chat, we started to talk about the stuffs. He presents it from a cage to other cage, explains the motif/theme of each cage.
I found an interesting one, a fine fret-work, carved cage that wears theme about 'Subali', one of the figures/character in 'Ramayana', a legend/story from India, also risen in the 'Hindu' religion. The story is written by Walmiki/Balmiki, a poet, which also risen as a poet in the story. This epic wrote the story about a kingdom 'Kosala' in India and also kingdom 'Alengka' in Ceylon, with intrigues and political acts contents. The story has simple line, easy for the reader's digest. I like the relief. It has finishes in colors, painted using air brush system. Full of colors ... Even the 'Batik', the original/traditional textile/costume in the relief also painted with the inscription style by freehand, a micro fretwork in painting.
Kwan Kong or Guan Yu, a Chinese legend, that telling the story about the Gods of War, also embedded in the cage's relief as seen in the next [second] picture. The finishes in natural color, close to the wood color, using the melamine or polyurethane clear coating for the final coat. The cage also equipped with a crown, wooden material base, that also fully engraved with small carving, with a same theme and character. The cage is column less, as the ductility and the strength of the cage are coming from the small bamboo bars only. The door also well decorated with fine fretwork, small carving with same theme and character also. The door's handle, the upper part also decorated. Small shape with fine craving are used as the locking system for the crown's hooks. It is a unique design for a cage.
The third picture is showing same type of cage as the previous one, a column less cage. The fret works is fine enough. The relief is telling about the legend of the 'Kilin' beast. This is also the Chinese story/legend, where the Barongsai tradition are started and arisen. Shortly, the story told, once upon a time, there was a monster arise in the village and destroy anything, no one could stop it. Suddenly, a beast, looks like a lion kind but it purely different, out of the blue and then fight the monster and successfully killed the monster. People named the beast as 'Kilin'. In the another day, a monster came up again and there was no Kilin to show up, so the people made the imitation of Kilin to drive the monster away. It was the beginning of the Barongsai tradition, which also has been introduced in Indonesia since hundreds years ago. Anyway, I really like this 'Kilin' theme.
The more detail in larger picture that showing the 'Kilin' pattern is available in the next picture on above. I like the cage's theme, but the cage's type, naturally I do not like the columns less kind. To me, carved columns in the cage is very beautiful. I also noted, almost all carving cages are very heavy and weighing the roof's bars and so the vertical bars, if it is columns less. So I think it is not clever to choose this type.
The picture in the left is a round shape cage. It wears same theme as the previous one, the 'Kilin' theme, but in round shape and also in different finishes type. This cage is using the color finishes, a very bright and eye catching color. This cage is addressed to be used for Love Bird, based on its dimension and shape. This cage is very tall. The base part, a horizontal round plate, is a very shiny black plain, so, think if I have this one, seems it is very sadly to say that the shiny one will be stained by the bird's waste .... hahaha.
This cage is my favorite cage. It has funny theme, the Cocks [male chicken. All about chickens. The carving style is looks like Balinese, but still seems Jepara in detail. Very fine fret work. The color is perfect, light brown, almost yellow, it is very natural color, as the wooden material it self. It has a lot of additional decorations, such as the corner stiffener, the crown, crown sides decorations, perches & food bowls accessories. All made in fine carves and so in same theme. It looks classy and has real good style.
The last picture is most simple one. The relief is not too small neither too detail. It is also not too heavy. But the fret works is still quiet good and so the finishes. The carves shows the 'Shio'. The Sheng xiao (Chinese: 生肖; pinyin: shēngxiào), better known in English as the Chinese Zodiac (Chinese: 中国十二生肖; pinyin: zhōngguó shí èr shēngxiào), is a scheme that relates each year to an animal and its reputed attributes, according to a 12-year cycle. It has wide currency in several East Asian countries besides mainland China and Taiwan. The finishes in colorful paint.

Those cages are very fine art works, made by good carving artist, plus quiet good finishes applicator. So, in a long the stream of production & distribution, from the carver until ended in the cage seller, it had taken very much effort, cost and time for production, it is considerable that the price will be very expensive.