Home / China / Features Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Naked ambition with bamboo and brushes
Adjust font size:

Chongqing, in Southwest China, is surrounded by mountains and has the famous Yangtze River running through its core. Many homes are located in remote areas, so local people need to hire porters to carry goods from boats to their mountain homes.


Tian Qinghua, 52, carries a gas tank for a resident in Chongqing.

These workers are called bang bang, after the bamboo sticks they use to carry their heavy burdens.

It's tough work, but it does allow these hard-working men to feed their families, even though the pay is meager. So the bang bang are often looking for extra ways to turn a yuan.

Tian Qinghua, 52, has found the most unlikely jobs - nude modeling and painting.

Wearing unruly long hair and sporting a handlebar moustache, Tian acts and speaks like a gentleman. The bamboo stick has been the most important tool he has used to support his family of four over the past 20 years.

But now he's using a paintbrush and his naked body.

By chance, Tian heard of a job posing as a nude model at the Sichuan Fine Art Institute.

"It was embarrassing to take off all clothes in front of the young students," Tian recalls. However, for the 11 yuan ($1.6) per day, Tian decided to "sacrifice for art".

Tian now earns 100 yuan ($14) a day at the art institute. While his body stays immobile in front of the attentive students, his mind never stops.

The porter, who lives in a small hut crowded with his sketches and oil paintings, has developed into a fine painter, thanks to the occasional guidance from experts.

Ten years ago, a gallery in Shenzhen bought 21 of his paintings. Afterwards, Tian was so excited he could not sleep for days. "Although my paintings were sold for 200 yuan each, I was very happy because what I had done had been acknowledged," Tian says.

1   2    

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
Most Viewed >>
- Why Washington plays 'Tibet Roulette' with China
- Chinese in Britain protest against media distortion
- Thousands rally in LA against CNN's remarks
- Carrefour to investigate calls for boycott
- Journalists group urges CNN to apologize for 'insulting' remarks