Inheritor of intangible cultural heritage devoted to passing on pyrography

(People's Daily Online) 11:01, April 07, 2021

Yan Shaoming, a 66-year-old man in Huangyan district, Taizhou city, east China’s Zhejiang province, has been devoting himself to the city’s intangible cultural heritage “Huangyan pyrography” for over 20 years.

Yan Shaoming creates a pyrograph. (Photo/Chinanews.com)

"The folk art has fascinated me, and I want to pass it on," said Yan, the inheritor of the Chinese art, which involves creating pictures with “burning pens” similar to soldering irons.

Huangyan pyrography, which originated in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), refers to works featuring landscapes, figures and history on fan ribs, combs, wooden boards, and bamboo furniture, Yan explained.

Yan Shaoming creates a pyrograph featuring orchids. (Photo/Chinanews.com)

Over the past years, the artist has made a series of pyrographs depicting figures, landscapes, birds or flowers on wooden boards, bamboo pieces, or silk.

"As a child, I was always enthusiastic about painting. I had access to pyrography during my school days and learned wood carving and clay sculpture techniques, which laid the foundation for creating pyrographs," the old man said.

Yan decided to throw himself into creating pyrographs and passing on the traditional art.

Photo shows pyrographs in Yan Shaoming's studio. (Photo/Chinanews.com)

But the process has not been easy. In the beginning, Yan couldn’t buy a suitable “burning pen” to make pyrographs with, as local craftsmen generally used iron wires as “burning pens” in the past and had to grill a “pen” before drawing.

Before electric “burning pens” with different models became available on the market, Yan had to tailor-make “burning pens” with adjustable temperatures, sizes and shapes.

With the “pens” he finally wanted, Yan practiced tirelessly on wooden boards over and over again to create his intricate pyrographs.

Yan Shaoming introduces his pyrographs. (Photo/Chinanews.com)

Yan has not only refined his techniques but also created pyrographs covering more topics. He currently plans to create pyrographs marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.

"I want to pass on the traditional techniques because I love the art form," Yan said, hoping that more young people will join him in passing down the art.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)


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