Young People Take Action to Preserve Ancient Arts and Crafts

September 12, 2017
Editor: Jane Wang

Yao Jianping, mother of Yao Lan, is a famous Su embroidery artist. []


Many people born in the 1990s nowadays have devoted great efforts to making time-honored national arts and crafts more magnificent with their creative ideas and new technology.

Promoting the Craft of Su Embroidery with New Designs

Yao Lan is a native of Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province. She is a postgraduate student from the Department of Arts and Crafts, Tsinghua University. Meanwhile, she is founder of a local famous Su embroidery design studio consisting of eight members who are all born after the 1990.

Yao's mother is a country-level inheritor of Su embroidery. In Yao's eyes, her mother's craftsmanship in making embroidery-related works cannot be surpassed by others.

She originally did not want to do the same work as her mother. But as she got older, she found that each generation has its own advantages and disadvantages in making artworks. Her mother has obtained the highest achievement in her generation, but it does not mean that young people have no space to show their talents in this aspect, Yao said.

The young woman claimed that people of her generation have advantages in acquiring a good knowledge of painting and modern design. "I believe that the power of design will be more and more important." Only through design can the craftsperson improve their artistic level and give their products more additional value.

Adding More Elements to Stone Carvings

Chen Ying comes from southeast China's Fujian Province. Chen was influenced by his uncle, a master of jade carving, when he was a young child. After his graduation, he took up the meticulous work.

Under the guidance of his uncle, he started learning the technique of Shoushan stone carving in a systematic way. "In addition to the skills of stone carving, I learned Chinese and foreign design knowledge, including the use of color and the selection of subjects."

"Traditional carvings often take careerism as a theme. Today we have more extensive subjects related to life than the traditional ones," Chen said.

Preserving Ancient Xiashi Colored Lanterns

Xiashi colored lanterns, a national intangible cultural heritage, are mainly circulated in Haining, a city in east China's Zhejiang Province.

Fei Zhitao has learned the craft for over 10 years. "We now use an LED light source instead of traditional ones to make it more beautiful, environmentally friendly and  safer. Few people knew the technique before. As it has spread on the Internet, it will become possible for every household to access Xiashi colored lanterns."

Fei maintained that he has firm confidence in carrying forward the antique craft despite great difficulties.

Fascinated with the Art of Pyrography

Peng Fang hails from northwest China's Shaanxi Province. At the beginning, his family members disagreed with him about taking pyrography as a career. After learning more about it, his family members all gave him their support.

"Previously, pyrography was about landscapes, plum blossoms, orchids and chrysanthemums. Now, various subjects can be made and the materials selected can vary including wood, leather wallets and mobile phone covers."

(Source: Guangming Daily/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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