Little white chips fly off in every direction with each blow of master ivory carver Li Chunke's chisel.
Gradually, the folds of a robe, tassels and hands of an ancient Chinese woman begin to emerge from a rough piece of ivory in front of him in his Beijing workshop.
Li says nothing looks as smooth, nothing can be carved as intricately or expressively as ivory. Wood and jade are too brittle.
"Whether I'm carving animal or human figures, I try to express their feelings," he says. "That's what Chinese consider most important."