Yangtze Delta handicrafts on show at new art center in Shanghai
From silk brocade to jade sculptures to ink making, a variety of traditional arts and handicrafts from the Yangtze Delta are being exhibited for a month at the cultural expo at the new Duoyunxuan Art Center in Shanghai.
The expo features nearly 100 national cultural artifacts from the Yangtze Delta region and it has also gathered cultural experts to demonstrate the processes involved. These experts will also be able to guide interested visitors who are keen to try their hands at making these handicrafts.
One of the highlights is a 12-panel masterpiece by Ren Bonian (1840-1896) which was painted on golden paper. It measures 7.14 meters in width and has a height of more than 2 meters. It took the acclaimed Duoyunxuan studio eight years to complete the project.
Lin Yuqing, who has worked at the Duoyunxuan print studio for more than 40 years, is showcasing how traditional Chinese envelopes are crafted. Alongside Lin is her apprentice Yuan Guanyang, a 25-year-old who joined the studio after graduating from the prints department at the art school in Shanghai University.
A major highlight of the expo, Duoyunxuan print-making has a history that spans 116 years. However, the craft is believed to have originated in China more than 1,000 years ago. Ancient Chinese were found to have carved words onto wood before covering it with rice paper and creating prints with water ink.
The studio has further developed this traditional technique by dividing a colorful ink painting into dozens of smaller wooden boards. Experienced craftsmen then print out each of the images carved on the board. After dozens, and sometimes hundreds of repeated printings on each page, the painting is vividly reproduced, with each stroke and shade of color accurately represented.
An exhibition of traditional arts and handicrafts from the Yangtze Delta is now taking place in Shanghai.