Arts and Crafts

China has a wide variety of arts and crafts with exqui-site workmanship. They can be classified into special and folk types.

Special arts and crafts, such as ivory carving, jade carving and Shoushan stone carving use precious or special materials, and undergo elaborate designing and processing. They are elegant and expensive.

The following are famous special arts and crafts.

The major ivory carving centers are Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Beijing is mainly famed for ivory carvings of figures of ladies, as well as flowers and birds. Guangzhou is well known for its exquisitely carved ivory balls. Shanghai is famous for its delicate ivory figures. The ivory carvings are exquisitely executed and lifelike. However, the technique of ivory carving is gradually declining for lack of materials.

Jade carving takes into consideration the natural lines, luster and colors of jade. Craftsmen ingeniously integrate the colors with the shapes of the art works, fully displaying the glory of nature.

Stone carving is created using various rare types of stone, such as the Shoushan Stone and Tianhuang Stone.

Carved lacquerware, shaped like bottles, pots and large screens, is created out of pure lacquer. Usually bright red, it is classically elegant and beautiful.

Cloisonne is a kind of handicraft well known at home and abroad. The blue glaze produced during the reign of Emperor Jingtai of the Ming Dynasty is considered the best. Created by mounting copper strips and plating gold and silver on the surface of a copper roughcast, it looks resplendent and magnificent. The products include bottles, bowls, and cups used as prizes, etc.

Chinese folk arts, with a broad mass foundation as well as a long history, contain profound cultural and historical connotations. They can stimulate people’s aesthetic sense and appreciative taste. Throughout the ages, Chinese folk arts have had a strong local flavor as well as a national style, different in postures and beautiful beyond appreciation.

In technique, Chinese folk arts fall into the categories of cutting, bundling, plaiting, knitting, embroidering, carving, molding and painting.

Cutting includes papercuts, paperengravings, papercut silhouettes, paperfolding, paper sculpture, and leather-silhouettes, all of which evolved from papercuts.

Bundling includes kites and colored lanterns bundled up with paper, silk or bamboo.

Plaiting, a popular folk art, includes various straw or thread plaited articles. The products include cloth tigers, cool pillows, cushions, tiny fragrant bags, colored silk balls, shoe-pads, and velvet flowers and birds.

Knitting, including wax printing, bandhnu, color printing, drawnwork and flower knitting, is created by weaving, knitting or stitching.

Embroidering includes picture weaving in silk, printing and dyeing. China’s four famous styles of embroidery are those of Suzhou, Hunan, Guangdong and Sichuan.

Carving includes art depictions of various shapes, such as masks, puppet heads, figures, animals and flowers, which are created with bamboo, wood, jade, or horn.

Molding includes dough modeling, clay sculpture, frozen butter sculpture and pottery sculpture. The products serve not only as ornaments but also as children’s toys.

Painting involves such techniques as hand painting, incision, patchwork, and pyrograph, each having a style of its own.

China is the home of chinaware, porcelain being produced in both the south and north. Famous porcelain-making centers are Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province and Liling in Hunan Province in the south and Tangshan and Handan in Hebei Province and Zibo in Shandong Province. The long-lost techniques of the celebrated ancient porcelain kilns such as Longquan, Jun, Ru, Guan, Cizhou and Yaozhou have now been recovered, “like old trees putting forth new blossoms” as the saying goes. The purplish brown sandy potteries of Yixing, the noted pottery center in Jiangsu Province, are much sought after for their classic elegance and splendid luster.



Copyright or other proprietary statement goes here.
For problems or questions regarding this web contact [].
Last updated: 2000-07-13.