Masters of traditional crafts are bringing China's intangible cultural heritage to the Chaoshan Culture and Art Talent Street in the Port-opening area of Shantou.
From now to September, the master craftsmen are giving talks about their stories of working with traditional crafts such as embroideries, wood carvings, and the art of brush-writing micro-calligraphy on ceramics, and are demonstrating the procedures of the crafts.
Wang Zhiwen is a master of micro-calligraphy on ceramics, a craft that requires using a special brush pen to draw and write on ceramics. According to Wang, it's an art that integrates poetry, calligraphy, painting and ceramics. "Over 50 traditional Chinese characters can be written on each square centimeter," said Wang.
He Hanlin, a master of wood carvings, spends most of his time in his workshop. As his traditional wood carving style is a sophisticated craft that needs over 200 tools, some of He's works might take two or three years to finish. One of the most complicated wood carving works is "shrimp and crab basket," which features a special skill known as "overlapped hollow-out" to create a basket with delicate shrimp and crab sculptures.
"Not many are working on wood carvings now. I hope more people can try to understand and support the craft," said He. After setting up a workshop in the Port-opening area, he often demonstrates the craft to visitors and local citizens and holds talks for primary and middle school students to pass on the traditional craft.
Chen Shuze, a craftsman of drawn thread work, also shares the wish to promote traditional crafts. Drawn thread work is a form of embroidery based on removing threads from the warp and weft of a piece of even-weaved fabric. The remaining threads are grouped or bundled together into a variety of patterns.
According to Chen, who's been devoted to the craft for over 40 years, drawn thread work is a complicated craft with many procedures. Currently he's applying the craft to products such as lampshades or bags and offering classes in schools to promote the craft.
Shantou, which was opened up as a commercial port in the 1860s, has a multitude of intangible cultural heritage projects, including 13 at the national level, 39 at the provincial level and 102 at the municipal level.