China Daily (Canada) - - XINJIANG -

their 40s or 50s”.

He spoke while putting the fin­ish­ing touches to a paint job on a type of clas­si­cal string in­stru­ment called a tem­bor. As part of his ef­forts to con­tinue his fa­ther’s legacy, Is­mayil is also teach­ing the busi­ness to Ah­mat Nurdi, his 13-year-old son.

Yunus first started mak­ing mu­si­cal in­stru­ments as a poor man in his 20s, when an aunt came to visit and sug­gested he learn the craft to im­prove his cir­cum­stances.

Af­ter two years of study, he suc­cess­fully made his first tem­bor. Grad­u­ally, the in­stru­ments he made started to sell for good money, ac­cord­ing to Is­mayil, help­ing Yunus to lift him­self out of poverty, ren­o­vate his house and buy a mo­tor­cy­cle.

In­stru­ment mak­ing is not an easy job, how­ever. “The bot­tom half of a tem­bor is carved out of a sin­gle piece of wood,” said Rah­man Tu­rahun, a 45-year-old maker in the vil­lage.

“It takes both time and con­cen­tra­tion, as a sin­gle mi­nor mis­take may ruin it all.”

Ayit Imin, a 58-year-old ar­ti­san dubbed “king of in­stru­ments” by his fel­low vil­lagers, said that it takes two peo­ple 15 days to make a tem­bor with carved pat­terns of mod­er­ate com­plex­ity.

“Up un­til now, I’ve had 40 ap­pren­tices, but I’ve also had many who dropped out half­way, for they were heart-stricken when they hear the poor sound made by the in­stru­ments that they had de­voted so much time to,” Imin said.

Liang Shuang con­trib­uted to this story.

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