In this issue, we had planned to interview Chuen Chung Lam of Foochow Lacquer about the art pieces he sourced and commissioned for Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace Cotai. He passed away just as we were beginning our reporting, but with the assistance of his son Dennis, we wrote this piece as a tribute to the curator and artisan who became a beloved figure around the resorts and whose artworks are now iconic attractions for visitors from around the world.
透過永利澳门正門大堂外綠洲玉池的落地玻璃牆，能看到一對精美的景泰藍駱駝。這對駱駝高度接近五尺，看起來就像輕盈地站於水面上。風水學講究好事成雙，駱駝也要成雙成對才寓意吉祥。這對駱駝在遊客照片裡的出鏡率如此之高，已經成為永利澳門的標誌性景觀。然而它們背後的故事遠不止裝飾品那般簡單。事實上正是它們的上一任藏家，香港福州漆器公司的林存忠先生建議說，駱駝有『沙漠之舟』之稱，象徵著沙漠之城拉斯維加斯的居民，遷居到永利澳門這片南中國海沿岸的綠洲之上，歡迎來自全世界的客人。 TWO GOLDEN CLOISONNÉ CAMELS face each other in a shimmering pool, visible through floor-to-ceiling glass from Wynn Macau’s main entrance. Nearly five feet high, they appear to stand right on the water. The principles of feng shui stipulate that they be placed in a pair. Because they have been photographed so frequently, the camels have become virtually synonymous with Wynn Macau, but to those who know their story they are far more than decorative. In fact, Chuen Chung Lam, from whose Hong Kong warehouse they traveled, suggested that since camels are known as “ships of the desert,” they might represent the people of the desert city of Las Vegas, relocated to this oasis on the South China Sea to welcome visitors from around the world.
在2006年永利澳門正式開業前一周，這對駱駝才運到酒店，從此穩穩當當地矗立在大堂。Wynn Design and Development執行副總裁Roger Thomas回憶說：『當時永利澳門已經全部裝修完畢，我和Steve Wynn站在大堂裡上下打量，他總覺得似乎還有哪裡缺少了些東西。』Thomas當時立即記起幾個月前在香港的福州漆器公司見過的一對駱駝，便向Wynn保證：『請明早11點鐘再來大堂，我會告訴你應該增加些什麼。』福州漆器公司的林先生當即答應連夜把駱駝運到澳門, Thomas這邊同時開始籌備安裝：『我和園藝部的Luis Marin商量過，決定用黑色石磚來做駱駝的水下支架。到第二天早上11點鐘，這對精美絕倫的駱駝已經在站立在水面上。我現在還記得Steve初次見到這對駱駝的表情。』那次不是Thomas第一次找福州漆器公司幫忙了。在Thomas看來，林先生就像一位阿拉丁寶藏的看守人，總能找到適合永利的藝術品。林先生的兒子Dennis回憶道：『我父親常說, Thomas先生有非常精明的眼光，總能選走我們最出色的藝術品。』林先生對中國歷史、裝飾藝術和工藝的深厚知識背景，讓他得以在全球收藏界建立廣泛人脈；他努力推動保育國寶級手工技藝的事蹟，更在業界獲得廣泛讚譽。二戰期間，林氏家族在印度開始工藝品貿易生意。林先生的岳父是福州人，為躲避日本侵略而遷居印度。當時印度和香港都在英國控制之下，印度的中緬印劇院(China Burma India Theater)是美軍支援中國的行動基地之一。Dennis說：『外祖父當年就在印度和緬甸邊境賣中國手工藝品給美軍。』戰爭結束後, Dennis的外祖父帶著全家定居香港，在1946年開設福州漆器公司。林存忠先生也是在福州出生, 14歲移居香港，在姐夫的藝術裝飾品店裡工作。1971年林先生與妻子結婚，隨後加入了岳父的公司。公司以漆器這種福州最著名的出口產品來命名。其中蜚聲國際的『脫胎漆器』工藝，需要用漆一層層地塗上麻布或絲綢織物做成的胎型，成型固定後，還要經過二十多個步驟處理—調製漆料、上油、塑形、打磨拋光等等。這項工藝始於清朝乾隆年間，與北京景泰藍、景德鎮陶瓷並稱中國手工藝術的三大寶藏。後來為了滿足大量出口廉價貿易的需要，這些工藝逐漸轉向工業化批量生產。但福州漆器公司仍然堅持收購純手工製作的作品。Dennis說：『父親很喜歡景泰藍工藝，因為它複雜的製作過程完全以人手完成。父親堅信，真正的藝術品擁有長久的生命力。』林先生與Thomas的友誼早在永利澳門建成前二十年就已經建立。Dennis回憶說。『父親知道永利準備在澳門開一家新酒店後，就開始著手幫老朋 Though they seem to have occupied this spot forever, the camels didn’t arrive until a week before Wynn Macau’s grand opening in 2006, when, says Roger Thomas, Executive Vice President of Design for Wynn Design and Development, “Steve Wynn and I were standing in the lobby evaluating the interior, which we do together as spaces are finished. Steve felt something was missing from the view.” Thomas remembered the camels from a visit to Hong Kong’s Foochow Lacquer Company months earlier and promised Wynn, “If you meet me here tomorrow morning at 11 am, I will show you a solution.” Lam agreed to deliver them overnight to Macau. Meanwhile, Thomas recalls, “I conspired with Luis Marin in our horticulture department to have bricks painted black to create underwater stilt supports for the pair. By 11 am, we had this magnificent pair of camels walking on water. I can still see Steve’s face when he saw them for the very first time.” It wasn’t the first time Foochow Lacquer had been a go-to resource for Thomas. Mr. Lam—as he was affectionately known—served as the quiet keeper of what Thomas has called an “Aladdin’s cave” of treasures from which Wynn, through Thomas, got first pick. “My father always said, ‘Mr. Thomas is a gentleman who only skims the cream from our best items,’” recalls Lam’s son, Dennis. Through the relationships he cultivated all over the world, sharing his immense knowledge of Chinese history and decorative arts techniques, Mr. Lam is also credited with keeping some of the most treasured Chinese handicrafts not only alive but vibrantly relevant. The history of the Lam family business begins in India during World War II, where Mr. Lam’s father-in-law—a native of Fuzhou (formerly spelled Foochow, the capital city of Fujian province)—fled to escape the Japanese invasion of China. Both India and Hong Kong were controlled by the British in those days, with India also providing the base for American operations in support of China in the China Burma India Theater. “My grandfather started selling Chinese handicrafts to GIS at the India and Burma border,” Dennis Lam explains. Once the war ended, he settled with his family in Hong Kong, opening Foochow Lacquer Company in 1946. Mr. Lam had also been born in Fuzhou, and moved to Hong Kong at the age of 14, where he worked in his brother-in-law’s decorative arts store. After marrying his wife, he joined her father’s company.
友Thomas搜羅精美的中國藝術品。』除了酒店大堂的景泰藍駱駝，永利大樓和吉祥樹入口處的威武雄壯的銅獅雕像，酒店前台旁邊那對巨大的黃色景泰藍香爐，都出自林先生的收藏手筆。在永利澳門和永利皇宮裡面，隨處可見林先生為永利搜集的大型藝術作品的微型版，還有各種福州出產的精美手工藝品，林先生認為，手工創作的藝術應該得到更好的保育和傳承，他從不滿足於製作簡單的複製品。Dennis回憶說：『當父親知道永利購入了著名的巴克勒公爵花瓶系列（一套極為珍稀的清朝花瓶，世上唯一可與這套花瓶媲美的一套四件花瓶現存於英國白金漢宮），他就想為永利製作一套微型版。永利允許我們仔細測量花瓶的尺寸，父親極為激動，他終於有機會近距離欣賞這套卓絕超凡的瓷器。』林先生花了超過一年半的時間，在多次嘗試之後終於製作出模型。模型由景德鎮的著名陶瓷大師製作， Dennis覺得，製作過程折射出父親出色的創作天賦和性格：『我與父親並肩工作時，從他身上學到了從事這個行業必不可少的勤勉和耐性，還有對藝術的充沛熱情。』下次路過那雙標誌性的駱駝的時候，你或許會想起那個把它們帶到永利的人，更充分地感受到他協助永利為歡迎你而打造的這一方藝術樂土。 The company was named for Fuzhou’s most famous export, its renowned “bodiless lacquerware,” in which a model is covered in layers of grass linen or silk and brushed with layer upon layer of lacquer. After the original model has been created, more than 20 steps—blending the lacquer, oiling, shape-setting, and polishing— follow. The craft, which was first developed in the Qianlong period of the Qing dynasty, is regarded as one of the three treasures of Chinese arts and crafts, along with the cloisonné of Beijing and the porcelain of Jingdezhen. And though all three techniques have been mechanized over time to fulfill the demand for cheap exports, the mission of Foochow Lacquer has been to gather and commission only pieces made by hand. “My father loved cloisonné,” Dennis says. “The complicated manufacturing process is entirely manual. He always believed that workmanship would live on in the art object itself.” Mr. Lam’s friendship with Roger Thomas predates the building of Wynn Macau by at least two decades. “When my father knew that Wynn was planning to build a new hotel in Macau, he started to gather very fine artworks from China for his old friend Mr. Thomas,” Dennis recalls. That collection yielded the mighty copper lions by the Wynn Tower and Rotunda entrances, a huge pair of yellow cloisonné incense burners by reception, and, of course, the camels. In your wanderings through Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace, you will see other items from Foochow—as well as miniature versions of the large art objects that Mr. Lam brought to Wynn. True to his operating philosophy that the integrity of the workmanship needed to be kept alive, Mr. Lam would never be satisfied with a simple reproduction. “When my father knew that Wynn had bought the famous Buccleuch vases”—a rare quartet of Qing dynasty vases whose only known equals occupy Buckingham Palace—“he wanted to make a miniature for Wynn,” Dennis says. “They let us measure the original vases, and my father was so thrilled to have the chance to enjoy this marvelous porcelain ware.” It took more than a year and a half (and several tries) to finish the final sample, which was completed by the famous porcelain artisans of Jingdezhen, a process that Lam says reflects the kind of person and curator his father was. “Even though he was a businessman, he would not compromise his principles for gains,” he says. “As I worked side by side with my father, I learned that this industry requires a lot of diligence and patience—and passion for this art.” So when passing by those iconic camels, you might remember the man who brought them here, and consider them his way of welcoming you to a little oasis he helped to create.
Buccleuch vases in Wynn Palace. right, from top: Foochow Lacquer Company in Hong Kong, 1946; Dennis Lam as a child in Foochow Lacquer with his father, grandfather, and a customer; a green cloisonné jar in miniature. 從左至右：綠色景泰藍瓷罐的微型版；永利澳門收藏的巴克勒公爵花瓶系列； DENNIS LAM幼時與父親、外祖父在福州漆器公司與顧客合影；攝於1946年的福州漆器公司，位於香港彌敦道29號。
微型版的黃色景泰藍香爐。 A yellow cloisonné incense burner in miniature.