In 2013, Alaska began a contest where ice sculptures made by artists from countries like the Philippines, United States, Russia and Japan would be displayed and judged. How did the creation of these statues made out of ice begin?
A precise history of these works of art does not exist, although it is certain that these artistic blocks were made with ancient tools, not like the hair dryers, chainsaws and walk-in freezers that the modern age has.
Take a trip back in time…
It is believed that the earliest form of ice sculpture is the igloo, which was built by the early Inuits about 4 centuries ago as a form of shelter from the cold weather whilst travelling Greenland, Canada and the Alaska we know of today.
In 600 BC, the farmers who lived in northwest China would water their fields until they flooded, waited for the liquid to freeze up, collect the blocks that formed and then placed them inside isolated sheds so that they could preserve food that could spoil easily (such as seafood).
In the meantime, the rich people who lived in India or ancient Rome would have a unique dessert that was combined with fresh fruit juices. This would be the precursor to our sorbet and ice cream today.
When the 1600s came around, fishermen who worked in the Chinese province of north-eastern Heilongjiang would carve ice lanterns out of water and salt to make the ice last longer. They would first freeze water in little pails, remove the blocks inside and stick a candle in them.
By 1739, the Russian empress Anna Ivanova instructed her servants to build her a castle out of ice that she would use for special events.
Where are these figurines being used now?
Culinary schools of today often teach their students how to craft small ice sculptures to entertain the diners and act as centrepieces for meals, apart from teaching them knife skills for carving vegetables and fruits. Carving ice even made its way to major sports events like the Calgary Winter Games of 1988. And now it is mostly used in a formal gathering, so for a custom made piece check ice sculptures Brisbane now!