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“Obstacles in the Life of an Artisan” - Event Overview

OGP Reporters / Members Contribute File Photos

Sept 7, 2016

Patience, deliberation, perseverance, details, fine-tuning...the qualities of traditional artisanship are not the same as the qualities embraced by the generations today.

Patience, deliberation, perseverance, details, fine-tuning...the qualities of traditional artisanship are not the same as the qualities embraced by the generations today. Those who labor with their minds are seen as the rulers, and those who perform manual labor are the ruled. This confucian school of thought promotes societies where individuals compete to be the ones toiling with the minds rather than the hands. From this perspective, the revival of Chinese artisanship has many obstacles ahead.

To train a skilled artisan requires on average 20 years, and to become a master takes 50 years. How many years are there in one’s life? Under such circumstances, the society is filled with opportunists. The reality is the inferior quality products in the market and the selfish assaults on manual labour. The lack of attention and respect not only diminished the opportunities of artisans, but also weakened their will and spirit for the art; making it increasingly difficult to retain the heritage.

China has become the producer for massive amounts of products for the world market. However, “made in China” is often used in reference to low-quality products. In reality, the unique and fine quality never had a chance to enter the market because there are simply too many obstacles. In its regretful nature, many masters do not have disciples to learn the skills; the art is hence forced to be ceased.

A piece of wood is sculpted in the shape of guanyin and a water lily; from the selection of materials, to design, sculpting, and fine-tuning...numerous technical procedures straining time, mind, and physical strength - “arduous” ; A stone is carved with the dragon and the phoenix; integrating power and grace using expertise skills passed down through three generations. Created with the best quality of materials and artisanship - “skillful”.

Collectors gather from around the world to preserve the precious artisanship, as well as the legacy of the art.

“Deep water flows slow; a gentleman speaks late.” People behave in the same manner as water. Those who are wiser, are quieter and accomplishes greater. Please respect all artisans, and the art that’s about to be abandoned.

Thank you to all members for participating and purchasing in the “Stone and Wood Carvings in Fashion” event, and attending to the Chinese traditional arts.

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