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Chinese ivory gone berserk

(Courtesy Peabody Essex Museum/Chip Van Dyke)
By Sebastian Smee
Globe Staff / May 29, 2012
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Occasionally, as an art critic, you come across an object so marvelous it seems utterly berserk. When it happens, quite often you look around and realize that you are in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. Case in point: this single ball of ivory carved into 15 concentric spheres.

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CONCENTRIC SPHERES

By unidentified artist, Guangzhou, China,

late 19th century.

At: Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. 866-745-1876, www.pem.org