Ceramic Arts Breathe New Life into Impoverished Village

 April 18, 2019

Long afflicted with gripping poverty, Qianhe Village in central China's Henan Province was once left empty as residents moved out, but ceramic arts light the hamlet up.

Arts and crafts including colorful enamel paintings of door gods and wall art using thousands of ceramic bowls to depict the cosmos shine, giving the village's old bungalow residences a due facelift.

The once worn-out countryside in Luoling County now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to its exhibition hall of ceramic arts and tranquility of life, all because of an artist.

Four years ago, senior ceramic artist Guo Aihe, 51, came to the village for inspiration as it is located in the core area of the origin of Chinese ceramics.

About 62 km away from the Yangshao ruins renowned for its painted pottery, the Qianhe Village is also not far off from two of five famous ancient Chinese kilns.

Guo decided to revitalize the village's history of ceramic arts by using a total of 9,999 big pottery vats.


Flowerpots, guardrails, garbage cans, benches, booths, signposts and trails were all decorated with ceramics in the village.

The shabby cave dwellings and crooked wheat straw piles that seem useless and burdensome in the eyes of the villagers are Guo's inspiration.

The ceramic artist believes that the countryside itself can provide inspiration for art.

In harmony with the village's over 85 percent forest coverage rate, Guo also planted flowers such as orchids, sunflowers and chrysanths in the valley. The village is veiled in shades of purple, yellow, pink and evergreen throughout the year.

"The aesthetic appreciation of nature rewards the artists with a bigger stage to create," said Guo.


The ceramic arts breathe new life into the unadorned village.

Every winter, Guo holds exhibitions to invite artists from home and abroad to create, exhibit and auction their artwork. The revenue from such auctions will be used for the aesthetic education of school-age children in the nearby villages.

Since 2015, the number of artists that have participated in the exhibitions has grown from 23 to 100, raising a total of about 648,000 yuan (96,536 U.S. dollars).

Six classrooms where music and fine arts classes are taught by art majors and professionals have been set up, benefiting around 1,200 local students.

Students' works created in the art classes, after being beautifully decorated by the artists, are given to them as surprise gifts on Children's Day.

Guo believes that art can inspire students. "Art education should be given the same attention as math, physics and chemistry lessons," said Guo.

Guo's efforts are also making a difference among the villagers. Ji Jingtao from the Qianhe Village recently invited Guo to design an art piece for his newly furnished house -- a wooden artwork made out of a tree root.

"I would have burned it as firewood before, but now they see it as materials for art pieces," Ji said.

"Only by understanding and learning about beauty can we create and discover the beauty," Guo said.


(Source: Xinhua)


Please understand that womenofchina.cn,a non-profit, information-communication website, cannot reach every writer before using articles and images. For copyright issues, please contact us by emailing: website@womenofchina.cn. The articles published and opinions expressed on this website represent the opinions of writers and are not necessarily shared by womenofchina.cn.