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Unique Skin Painting in Guilin

With tree bark, pig's skin and ox's skin, Shen Yunxiang, a girl in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, can make some beautiful oil paintings.

These paintings, known as Chinese folk painting, are sold in the mainland as well as in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Every year, some 6,000 folk oil paintings are made and sold elsewhere, and the Wutong Town in Lingui County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is therefore named the hometown of Chinese folk oil paintings.

Recently, Shen attended the first China-Southeast Asia Cultural Industry Forum held in Nanning, the regional capital, this month. As soon as she returned, she told the reporter that she was glad to have been invited to attend the forum, for it showed that her painting was recognized by the public. At the cultural forum, her paintings were widely praised by businessmen and artists from Southeast Asia, and 500 orders were placed at the forum.

27-year-old Shen was born into a farmer family in Guilin. She loved painting while yet a small child. In 1995, she went to join a training course held by the Guangxi Ethnic Art School paying the expenses by her own, to learn home decoration. She devoted much of her spare time learning heavy oil painting.

In 1998 when she was practising her drawing skill in Yunnan, she happened to see some artworks that depicted the life of the ethnic minority people in Yunnan. She was deeply impressed by their unique style and stayed there to learn the skill. Later, her sister also came to learn the painting with her.

After learning for one year, the sisters went back to Wutong Town. In 2000, they presented some of their works at the China Agricultural Exhibition Hall. These works used ox's skin, pig's skin, or tree bark to draw pictures depicting the life of the ethnic minority people. The paintings were quickly sold out at the exhibition.

The sisters soon became well-known in Guilin. Later, they invited some of their friends and together they opened an art workshop. His father now sells their works. With years' of work, their workshop can produce hundreds of paintings every month.
(Chinanews.cn September 28, 2006)

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