New book highlights heritage skills of Yangtze River Delta

2021-01-18

New book highlights heritage skills of Yangtze River Delta
Ti Gong

Heritage skills masters share their understanding of intangible cultural heritages at the launch ceremony of the book "Ware Origin."


A book about the heritage skills and artisans of the Yangtze River Delta region was released in Shanghai over the weekend.


The book, “Qi Yuan,” or Ware Origin, features the narratives of more than 30 handicraft masters in Shanghai and neighboring Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces.


The traditional skills, or the listed intangible cultural heritages, marked in the book include the Chinese silk tapestry -kesi, or cut silk, in Suzhou, jade sculpture of Yangzhou, wooden carving of Dongyang, as well as the cheongsam making skill of Shanghai.


The book, the first of its kind, aims to protect and promote the outstanding heritage skills of the Yangtze River Delta in a more intimate way, said Geng Hongmin, the president of the Shanghai Arts and Crafts Association.


“It is a storybook about history, artisanship and inheritance, rather than a textbook or illustration about the skills,” Geng said. The writers interviewed over 30 arts and crafts masters despite the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, he added. The book is only available in Chinese at present.


New book highlights heritage skills of Yangtze River Delta
Yang Jian / SHINE

Ma Huijuan, the inheritor of Chinese silk tapestry kesi


A launch ceremony was held over the weekend in Duoyun Books, known as the world’s highest bookstore on the 52nd floor of the 632-meter-tall Shanghai Tower, China’s tallest building.


Several masters, including Bao Tianwei, the master of the famous Dongyang woodcut, Qian Yuefang, an inheritor of Gu-style embroidery, and local jade sculpture master Shen Desheng shared their understanding of the traditional skills during a forum on the ceremony.


An artisan should demonstrate the spirit of the time with traditional skills, local characteristics and personal styles, said Bao.


Qian said her traditional embroidery skill was rooted from the culture of Jiangnan, or the region south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, which can be soft or tough.


The jade and crystal sculptor Shen said the artisans should showcase the “life language” and natural beauty of the raw materials with skills.


“Crystal sculpture, for instance, can become a language of the world,” he added.


New book highlights heritage skills of Yangtze River Delta
Yang Jian / SHINE

A photo of the Su embroidery masterpiece "Silk Road" by master Yao Jianping


The book is the first of a series of publications about China’s traditional skills and their masters, according to the association.


To further promote the heritage skills, the association plans to host a competition as well as a new round of selection of the nation’s handicraft masters this year, Geng said.


China has listed more than 3,000 items of national “intangible cultural heritage,” including literature, music, dance, opera, sports, arts, handicrafts, traditional medicine and folk arts. Some are on the verge of being lost forever.


The traditional weaving and dyeing of the Li ethnic minority, for example, is listed as an endangered intangible skill by UNESCO. It is based on a traditional and complicated process of spinning, weaving, dyeing and embroidery.


New book highlights heritage skills of Yangtze River Delta
Yang Jian / SHINE

Shanghai cheongsam master Zhu Hongsheng



Source: SHINE

Editor: Yang Meiping


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