#ART-004 A Pair of Massive Size Antique Wooden Gates Fully Clothed in Hand-Forged Iron Work

This pair of massive size wooden gates fully clothed in hand-forged iron work looks like it could stop a whole army from invasion. Made with a purpose of showing the importance of the compound or a location it tried to protect, this impressive pair of gates gave an impression to many who said that it reminded them of the Forbidden City. With the complexity and the amount of time it took to create handmade iron work like this one with great texture and beautiful detail which separates it from any other ones made without the real handwork, this pair of compound gates has a great story behind its work.

This pair of gates with the hand-beat and hand-forged iron work (including the many iron nails) is among disappearing arts and professions in modern China as few craftsmen can perform this type of metal work any more. This work was said to have traditionally been performed in a highly heated environment while the pupil handed tools and learned by watching only as the master concentrated in the work in a high temperature without splitting attention by talking. Hence, this work was generally taught in a non-verbal fashion.

This pair of gates was carefully designed with each door containing nine larger size iron nails painted in gilt on each iron strip or belt. It also contains nine horizontal strips or belts in between the top and the bottom belt which frame each door. The design matches a Chinese idiom: Nine by nine is supreme.

Traditionally, this pair of compound gates would have been placed under a larger and possibly elaborately carved wooden frame. The feet of the gates were placed on the indented circular carved holes on a pair of carved stone bases with carved Fu-lions. Stone steps were created where one would step up to enter the opened gate and stepped down to a court yard area.

Dimensions (each door): 49” W x 4” D x 108” H

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