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Artist Ru reimagines Shaoxing's intangible cultural heritage

ezhejiang.gov.cn| Updated: February 10, 2017 L M S


Ru Shuiping, a master in Huadiao carving, works on his epic artwork that features some of Shaoxing's famed natural and historic scenery. [Photo/zjol.com.cn]

A large carving artwork that draws upon the style and technique found on Huadiao jars recently made its appearance in the city of Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, after local artist Ru Shuiping displayed his impressive work at The China Yellow Rice-Wine Museum. 

Huadiao is a type of yellow wine stored in a traditional pottery container, one typically decorated with carved flowers and special designs. Along with the yellow wine itself, Huadiao is one of Shaoxing's famed cultural traditions and the combination of clay carving and oil painting is considered a highly skilled art form that was officially recognized in the list of Zhejiang Intangible Heritages in July of 2007.

Ru Shuiping, a longtime master of Huadiao carving, devoted more than a year to creating the artwork, which spans 8 meters long and 2.2 meters high. The work covers dozen of Shaoxing's famed natural and historical sites such as Shen's Garden, the famous author Lu Xun's former residence, and Lanting Pavilion.

Ru's creation combines clay carving and Chinese traditional landscape painting skills. He admits to finding the work very immersive (he would sometimes forget to eat meals or leave work on time) and to making many adjustments of structure and color throughout the process. The work is reflective of both Shaoxing's history of craftsmanship and prime industry with some locals recognizing the work's great qualities.

Ru stated that his purpose in making the artwork was to break away from the stereotype that Huadiao carving belongs exclusively to yellow wine jars. By applying the art form onto a flat, rather than a rounded surface, Ru aims to show both the spaciousness and marketability of the craft. Ultimately, he hopes that young people will be inspired to take up the art form.