2016

Ingenious Carving Craftsmanship on Peach Pits and Bamboo

Soyim

The carving cart of Qiu Ren, an eccentric master

Zou Liqing
Born in Qingtian of China’s eastern Zhejiang province, Qiu Ren, originally named Zou Liqing, started to learn peach pit carving techniques at the age of 13 and has evolved into one of most influential master sculptors although he has not participated in any formal contest. As a representative inheritor of intangible cultural heritage, he has not only innovated the sculpting techniques of abnormal and white-spot peach pits, but also invented the high openwork carving skill and the novel form of combinable pit sculptures.

With his incomparable talents, Qiu Ren has reproduced daily scenes of his childhood, a recurring theme in his artworks, which has revealed his understanding and comprehension of life, art and emotions.

Elegant Rocks and Loose Grove. This peach pit sculpture illustrates a life-like scene of an old man walking on a mountain trail with his dog against the background of elegant rocks and a loose grove that lie in the distance. This is a common daily seen in the countryside. The man, who must be of quite an old age based on his appearance, has a small bundle of firewood on his back, following the little dog who is jumping around and leading the way.

Elegant Rocks and Loose Grove. This peach pit sculpture illustrates a life-like scene of an old man walking on a mountain trail with his dog against the background of elegant rocks and a loose grove that lie in the distance. This is a common daily seen in the countryside. The man, who must be of quite an old age based on his appearance, has a small bundle of firewood on his back, following the little dog who is jumping around and leading the way.

Thousand-year-old Fall. With a theme of the harmonious coexistence between man and nature, this peach pit sculpture was crafted with openwork carving based on the artisan’s imagination of an old man and a little child.

They go to the mountains to look for the thousand-year-old fall finally realizing their dream.

Rural life is the main theme of Qiu Ren’s peach pit sculptures. His high relief sculptures with ingenious design and profound meaning feature meticulous, refined work creating lines as thin as human hair.

Autumn Harvest. The artisan created a scene of village children playing hide-and-seek on a harvested farmland with two olive stone sculptures. There are two children hiding in the wood buckets used to store paddy, one checking out with a raised head and the other too afraid to do so, while another child is trying to find them with his eyes covered. What’s most interesting about this image is that there is another one hiding beneath the bamboo basket. He must be the one that will be found last!

Old Mother. Housed in Hangzhou Arts and Crafts Museum, this peach pit sculpture illustrates, based on the application of openwork and freestanding carving, a scene that reminds every viewer of his/her own mother. A mother with two children are portrayed, with the mother carrying the younger child who still cannot walk carried on her back, and feeding the elder one with a spoon. The crops lying on the ground and the clothes hang in the courtyard indicate this is a countryside scene.

Magpie on Plum Blossom Brach. This bamboo root sculpture shows a scene of a little magpie perching on a plum blossom branch, which is regarded as an omen of good things. The magpie is tilting down its neck, as if having a conversation with some other birds or animals, adding liveliness to the image. Thanks to the ingenious skills of the artisan, the scene looks so life-like that the bamboo root and trunk seem to be the naturally-growing root and branch of the plum blossom tree.

Qiu Ren has smashed over 100 pieces of unsatisfactory artworks in the past years as stated by him, “I would definitely smash those which I think have a flaw”. Never conceited or attractive to economic interests, Qiu Ren creates art only to realize his own value.


Zou Liqing explains his own art life in these words: “Using peach pits or bamboo as paper and blade as pen, I will write down the emotions from the most tranquil mind of mine with my entire life time.”

Soyim
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