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"Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today -- but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all."
- Isaac Asimov

Three Generation Work (Century Piece)  
  An artwork created by three consecutive generations of artists, in exactly one century.  

The two sat at a table of burnished lignum vitae, between them a centerpiece of carved malachite which Magnus Ridolph recognized as a Three-Generation Work from the Golwana coast of the planet Mugh - a product of father, son and son's son, toiled over a hundred years to the minute.*

(The catalogue of Pomukka Dhen, last of the Golwana emperors, listed seven thousand Century pieces, 136 Millennium pieces and fourteen Ten-Thousand Year pieces. A rumor had reached Magnus Ridolph of a Hundred-Thousand Year work nearing completion in the Backlands, a gigantic carved tourmaline.)

From The Sub-Standard Sardines, by Jack Vance.
Published by Startling Stories in 1949
Additional resources -

Compare to the Book of the Kalends from Galactic Pot-Healer (1969) by Philip K. Dick and the Darkdawn City from Dying of the Light (1977) by George RR Martin

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