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Chinese man carves gourds into spectacular works of art

(People's Daily Online)    17:11, April 11, 2019


A 70-year-old man from Shanghai has become well known in his local area thanks to his spectacular gourd carvings. The handicrafts have proved popular, and have even been listed as an intangible cultural heritage of Hongkou district in Shanghai.

Huang Ajin’s love for gourd carving started 20 years ago when he bought three little gourds and carved them for fun. He said it gave him a sense of accomplishment to see the completed project, and he gave them away as gifts.

“As more people asked me to carve them one, I began to think I could specialize in gourd carving,” he added.

Born into a family of carpenters and highly skilled in painting, Huang's carving business was soon up and running.


Now, Huang runs a gourd carving workshop in Shanghai. Aside from spending time in his workshop, Huang also visits schools to promote gourd culture and Shanghai-style gourd carving.

“What I’m doing helps students understand gourd carving, and cultivates their interest in inheriting our national culture,” said Huang.

As every artisan does, Huang has encountered a few bumps along the way.

“I used to lacquer my pieces after I finished carving, until some planters told me that the lacquer takes away the true color of the gourd,” Huang said.

Gourd carving is a very challenging work as the texture of every gourd varies. It takes years or even decades to hone the necessary skills, he added.


Huang believes that information technology in the new era has presented folk craft with an excellent opportunity for promotion and inheritance.

When asked of his plans for the future, Huang said he had been asked to carve something to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China as he also celebrated his 70th birthday this year. He added that he hopes to see more people love and inherit Shanghai-style gourd carving.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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