Carved lacquer, one of the three most popular arts

2022-07-28
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Carved lacquer, one of the three greatest arts and crafts in China, is endangered due to its complexity. In the 1950s, carved lacquer, jade, ivory carving and cloisonne were known as the "four famous immortals" and were the representatives of the arts and crafts in the capital; It is also known as "three masters of Chinese arts and crafts" together with Xiang embroidery and Jingdezhen porcelain. Today, this craft is on the verge of losing its popularity

at present, there are only more than ten lacquer carving artists in Beijing, and less than 30 artisans engaged in all processes. It was these people who stuck to the art of carved lacquer, which was on the verge of extinction, when the whole industry fell into a trough. Zhangxiaoyu is one of the young inheritors

carved lacquer spring word holding box

Taotie duosheng purple sand carved lacquer pot

stick to the low point and see the bright moon

after the founding of new China, the carving and lacquer industry experienced the whole process of recovery, prosperity and decline. When the Beijing carving lacquer factory was dissolved in 2003, Zhang Xiaoyu was 37 years old. When the whole industry fell to the bottom, many people chose to find another job. Some people with art foundation switched to home decoration and interior design, and many switched to sales and security. There are people from all walks of life. Zhangxiaoyu felt that "it is better to stick to it". In 2005, she set up a carved lacquer personal studio, which lasted seven years

"the first three years were hard. The whole studio was empty. There were no works and no bottom in my heart. In order to make things, I worked in black and white. I invested a lot in everything." Chang Xiaoyu recalled

Yuan Mei, a poet in the Qing Dynasty, once praised the beauty of carved lacquer by saying that "the Yin flowers are fine, the coral is bright, and the haze is faint in the East". In Chang Xiaoyu's studio, which is filled with the unique flavor of natural lacquer, more than a dozen pieces of heavy ware have been collected. One of the carved lacquer lantern pots depicts "peace and prosperity, lanterns and decorations, and bamboo for peace". On one side of the small pot, there are 8 boys and carved mountains, pavilions and figures. Among them, the embellishment of water is lively, while the characters focus on carving their facial expressions, which are lifelike and greatly enhance the three-dimensional and dynamic artistic effect

another carved lacquered purple clay pot with bronze pattern, carved with 16 characters, with distinct themes and exquisite knife techniques. The carving process is complicated and delicate. It is not easy to make your clothes flutter. It is very valuable to make your eyes and eyes full of emotions and emotions. Zhangxiaoyu always pursues "the hand is born from the heart, and the heart and hand are one"

According to the history of Chinese art translated by Dai Yue, "the Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty was very fond of carved lacquer. There were all kinds of carved lacquer items on display in the palace." Carved lacquer was originally a kind of rich palace art, which should be done at the cost of labor and time. "It is the insistence on every millimeter. The simplest square brocade needs 32 knives, and one knife should be in place, otherwise it will be a failure." Zhangxiaoyu said

after the reign of Qianlong, the national strength declined, and the carving of lacquer was shrinking day by day. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, with political turmoil and economic backwardness, the demand for lacquerware in the Imperial Palace dropped sharply, resulting in the interruption of lacquerware manufacturing for a time. During the reign of Guangxu, the lacquer carving tools needed to prepare for the 60th birthday of Empress Dowager Cixi had been "made by no craftsman", and the lacquer carving skills were almost lost

zhangxiaoyu said that lacquer carving is a craft, and the process is particularly complicated. The requirements for apprentices are very strict. They not only need to have a certain art background, but also the most important thing is to be practical and willing to learn and endure loneliness. Zhangxiaoyu started to look for people to learn lacquer after he set up his studio. Many people stopped working after learning this step. A large carved lacquer work of art usually needs to be painted with a thickness of about 15mm before it can be carved. The paint with a thickness of 1mm should be brushed 17 times. In order to ensure that it will not crack after years, the paint brushed on each time can only be naturally dried indoors in the shade, and cannot be dried or dried in the sun. When the weather is fine, you can only paint three times a day at most, sometimes only once. It takes nearly 100 days to brush 15mm thick paint

what is more difficult is the two processes of design planning and carving. Assuming that 100 people learn carving, 50 people will be eliminated in twoorthree years to engage in relatively easy types of work, such as tire making and grinding. The remaining 50 people will be eliminated in another 10 years, and more than half of them will be eliminated. Only twoorthree of the remaining small part can undertake the important task of carving art

the early 1980s was the most prosperous era of carved lacquer in Beijing. At that time, there were many export orders, generating a large amount of foreign exchange for the country. In foreign countries, they are proud to put a piece of Chinese carved lacquer art at home. At that time, there were several factories engaged in the art of carved lacquer in Beijing, with more than 2000 workers

now, this has become a distant landscape. Young people no longer have the patience to spend several years learning carved lacquer. Old artists are getting older and there are fewer and fewer creative venues. But now the "carved lacquer crafts" sold all over the street are almost imitations made of resin molds. They are designed by masters, controlled by computers and produced in batches, so they are cheap

In 2006, carved lacquer was listed as China's intangible cultural heritage. Since then, some people began to pay attention to the collection of carved lacquer art. However, after more than a decade of shrinkage, the carved lacquer industry has been extremely short of employees, and the technical workers are too old to produce a large number of carved lacquer art

noble Wang Qian of carved lacquer

zhangxiaoyu, a senior Chinese craftsman and artist, took two carved lacquer purple clay pots and put them on the table. Without words, you were instantly conquered by the touch of Chinese red

a Taotie duosheng pot came from ancient times with the cold light of bronze ware. It is shaped like a flood bell and looks like a flame. The body of the pot is square. There are gluttonous beasts on the front and back sides, staring and clawing. The animal face occupies the whole body of the pot. The eyes and eyebrows are raised. The appearance is very dignified and the spirit is like heaven. The two animals' claws are connected, and the powerful medium is not lost, which marks that the flotation desulfurization technology of high sulfur bauxite in the Institute has reached a new level. The bird pattern on the lid is the finishing touch. The whole idea is the inspiration of the creator zhangxiaoyu from the bronze art. How to express the charm of the bronze Taotie pattern on the surface of the red lacquer pot has become the main creative line throughout. For this reason, she chose a square pot with a full and slightly convex body. Corresponding to the dignified and deep bronze ware, the Ming Dynasty carving was adopted in the process. The design is simple and clear, not complicated and detailed. Different from the round lines of the carved lacquer in the Ming Dynasty, the relief lines here are deliberately hard and steep, and the Taotie pattern looks steep and powerful. The distance between the upper relief and the brocade ground was deliberately deepened. The brocade ground is full of palindromes of different sizes, which is another innovation to break through the Convention. Palindromes have always been drawn with a ruler, which stresses straightness and uniformity in size. Here, in order to echo with the ruggedness of the relief, a flexible attitude is adopted. In this way, the whole work is a one-off painting, sonorous and sonorous

different from the cool and gorgeous Taotie pot, another baby playing pot is very popular. In order to express the happy and auspicious atmosphere, the author chose the lantern pot of the Qing Dynasty with bright and moist paint. The lantern pot has a simple shape and infinite scenery. Here, the beauty of the intricacy and refinement of the Qing Dynasty lacquer carving process is concentrated. The whole composition is based on the ten thousand continuous patterns, which are linked with each other. From the pot handle to the pot body and to the pot mouth, it fluctuates continuously, and the knife is really unbroken. On the ten thousand character pattern, there is a baby play picture relief in front of and behind the pot. On the one hand, there is peace and prosperity, gongs and drums blaring, on the other hand, there is joy, bamboo explosion and peace. There are several babies on both sides, all smiling and lifelike. Their facial expressions are particularly vivid and vivid, and a school of vitality is about to emerge. It is said that carved lacquer figures are the most difficult to open their faces, which is exactly where Zhang Xiaoyu made his breakthrough. It takes half a year to carve a pot. The last stroke is to carve eyebrows and eyes for the characters. If you accidentally cut it, all your previous efforts will be wasted. The traditional method is to directly carve eyebrows and lips with a carving knife. In this way, not only the facial expression of the characters is stiff, and the blade can be seen at the corners of the eyes and lips, but also cracks are easy to form as the paint loses water over time. Chang Xiaoyu used the techniques of ivory and jade carving for reference, and creatively created the facial features of the characters by scraping and shoveling. Among all carved lacquer works of art in ancient and modern times, only here can you see such concave convex, round and full facial relief

compared with other carving techniques, brocade is the unique expression language of lacquer carving techniques. Below the two reliefs of baby play, there are layers of water brocade and flower brocade. The brocade ground carved on the pot surface is like falling flowers and flowing water. We must make good use of the situation to have a natural and smooth dynamic beauty. It is said that only a small square brocade needs more than thirty knives. Isn't this the biggest test for the carver

it takes one year to complete a small pot by one person. Such a time-consuming consumption shows the rigidity of this part of consumption demand, which was once only the exclusive pet of the Royal Palace aristocrats. Now, it is placed in front of me. Through the scenery under the blade, I can see the deep meaning of the silence of this ancient art

how to reach the acme of carving art is the bottleneck of the development of carving lacquer technology. It takes years of practice to force the country to reduce its production capacity through coal production reduction. "Many old craftsmen can make large objects, but they dare not make small works." Chang Xiaoyu said, "this craft requires years of training and high demands on physical strength and eyesight. Once you are old and dazzled, you will lose your grip on the carving knife. However, mistakes are never allowed in carving lacquer. If you make a mistake, you will lose everything." The works of art left by this knife have an irreducible charm with the temperature of the creator. Commodities in the era of machine replication can be produced in batches, and the life of fast consumption is no longer exquisite. Chang Xiaoyu is using this ever-changing red to retain a kind of refinement and nobility that has passed away

carved lacquer has a long history. Zhangxiaoyu's carved lacquer first appeared in the Tang Dynasty, when China's economy was at its peak. The overall completion of an object can be as little as one year, or as much as 35 years. The lacquer carving process in different periods has a unique style, such as the elegance of the Song Dynasty, the richness of the Yuan Dynasty, and the delicacy of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, which connect the glorious history of lacquer carving

Huang Cheng, a famous lacquerer in the Ming Dynasty, discussed the existing lacquerware in the Tang Dynasty in his Xiu Shi Lu. Unfortunately, there is no real object to prove the carved lacquer of the Tang Dynasty. To fully understand it, we can only wait for new archaeological discoveries

there were few carved lacquers handed down in the Song Dynasty. There are written records: lacquerware in the Song Dynasty was mostly made of gold and silver. At present, there are only two carved lacquerware of the Song Dynasty in the Palace Museum in Taipei. One is a copper plated red bowl and the other is a copper plated red goblet. In addition, Japan's Tokugawa Art Museum and Yuanjue temple have two black carved lacquer plates. One is to depict the scene in Ouyangxiu's famous travel notes "the story of a drunken man Pavilion" based on the hardness of the material, and the other is a black carved plate with a picture of a baby

the lacquerware manufacturing center of the Yuan Dynasty was in the rich and prosperous south. According to records of Jiaxing Prefecture, "Zhang Cheng and Yang Mao, Yanghui people in Xitang, Jiaxing Prefecture, got the most name from tihong." We can learn from the remains that their technology is comprehensive and their works have a wide range of themes. Usually the lacquering is thick, the carving is fine, and the grinding is smooth, which has a great impact on the development of carved lacquers in later generations. Their works are rare and have become rare treasures. At present, the Palace Museum has carved lacquerware objects of "zhangchengzao", "yangmaozao" and "zhangminde". All the styles are carved on the bottom of the utensils. The font is small and the stroke is thin, which is very easy to

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