Li Bien Painting - Ancient Art

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Inside painting is an ancient art in China. In Chinese, the phrase "Li Bien" means "inside". The Li Bien ornament showcases the aged old skill of inside painting, which originated in the Qing Dynasty. Each ornament is delicately hand-painted through a tiny opening in the mouth-blown glass. This process requires great skill since the image is painted in reverse. Each ornament is a genuine work of art and no two are alike.

Inside-painted bottles are associated with Chinese snuff bottles. The earliest inside painted bottles are thought to have been made in the period between 1820 and 1830 as, by then, the beauty of a snuff bottle was probably more important than utilitarian considerations—-and considering this—few would have been used for holding snuff.

To paint the inside of the bottle, the artist must paint backwards. Concentration is crucial to make precise strokes. A skilled artist may complete a simple bottle in a week while something special may take a month or more. The best craftsmen may produce only a few bottles in a year.

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In modern times, Pier 1, has brought back the unique Li Bien Art with a variety of ornaments. "With every new Christmas season, artwork is custom-designed for the unique shapes and dimensions of each bulb. Gorgeous, color-rich stories circle all the way around the ornament in themes that range from whimsical to traditional to religious to modern. The result: A Li Bien by Pier 1 Imports™ collection so fantastic, there's literally a look that fits every style."

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These are some of our favorite Li Bien items at