Three cultural treasures impress at craft expo

2020年10月23日07:06  来源:山西日报

Visitors take pictures of clay sculptures at the Shanxi Handicraft Expo.ZHONG QING / FOR CHINA DAILY

Ren Qi, a resident in Hejin city in the southwest of Shanxi, drove nearly four hours to the provincial capital of Taiyuan to attend the Shanxi Handicraft Expo that opened on Oct 15.

Ren brought his son with him, expecting to show him the three precious cultural treasures of Shanxi and other art forms and explain to him the cultural value embodied in the handicrafts on display.

The "three treasures of Shanxi" refers to fahua ware, hand-polished lacquerware and chengni ink slab.

Fahua ware, which is mostly made in the south of Shanxi, is the porcelain version of cloisonne, where the design elements are separated by copper wires. Porcelain featuring these techniques is fired at lower temperatures with the different colored glazes and enamels applied to individual areas created by the slip lines.

Known as one of the top four lacquerwares in China, the lacquerware in Pingyao county, especially the hand-polished variety, is a brilliant representation of the craft in China.

The hand-polished lacquerware of Pingyao is made of a natural raw lacquer and varnished by hand using a special technique.

Through embedding, sculpting, carving and colored painting, the lacquerware is decorated with patterns of mountains and rivers, flowers and birds, figures and pavilions.

As one of the top four ink slabs in China, chengni ink slabs produced in Jiangxian county, are a favorite of Chinese enthusiasts in calligraphy and traditional painting.

Unlike other ink slabs that are made from natural stone, chengni is produced by firing silt-rich clay collected from riverbeds. The ink slabs also feature elegant shapes and delicate engravings, which make them valuable pieces of art.

At the exhibition hall, Ren told his son that the production techniques of two of the treasures, fahua ware and chengni ink slab, had been lost for more than a century. But contemporary craftsmen have revived the techniques over the past three decades.

There were also a raft of other handicrafts on display, including brick, stone and wood carvings, and Buddha statues.

But Ren and his son, as well as other visitors, were mostly impressed by the handicrafts and folk arts commonly seen in daily life.

The exhibition areas for paper-cutting, flour sculpture and clay sculpture were crowded with people. Ren and his son closely watched the artists at work and bought one or two items as souvenirs of a fun day out learning about the handicrafts of Shanxi province.

Li Yali contributed to this story.