A Look into Innovative Transformation and Development of Chinese Culture in Shandong | Skillful Hands Create Innovative Gourd Paintings
来源：chinakongzi.org作者： 2022-11-08 15:21
At the foot of Lushan and the origin of Yihe, an inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage combines the traditional technique of gourd painting with such modern technologies as micro-writing and micro-carving. He makes bigger and stronger gourd painting, an almost lost heritage, unleashing the charm of cultural heritage in the context of the new era.
That inheritor is Wang Yujin, a fifth-generation heir of “Wang’s Mengshan Gourd Painting,” an intangible cultural heritage of Zibo.
Wang’s Mengshan Gourd Painting dates back to the late Qing Dynasty and has been passed down to the sixth generation today. As a fifth-generation heir, Wang Yujin has worked in the field for 42 years. Speaking of his deep connections with gourd painting, he said, “I have inherited Mengshan Gourd Painting from my uncle, Mr. Tang Hengchuan. He was a genius well known far and wide. Under his influence, my brothers and I have developed a strong interest in poetry, calligraphy, painting, and seal cutting since we were young.”
Use a knife to carve on the gourd with great power, and amid the dancing knife appears a vivid picture. With an ink brush and a carving knife, the craftsman is able to draw many scenes and characters, such as Thirteen Girls in Jinling and Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival. Even Diamond Sutra and Tao Te Ching can be painted on the tiny gourd, which is really awe-inspiring. The works of ingenuity are not created in one day. Such a piece of work takes a dozen days to a few months to complete.
The road of gourd painting inheritance is also a road of innovation. Like other intangible cultural heritages, gourd painting is on the verge of being lost. Through long-time observation and reflection, Wang Yujin has realized that bold innovation is essential to promoting traditional gourd painting. He said candidly, “Traditional gourd painting is devoid of the expected aesthetic and artistic value, whether in terms of content or expression.”
On the basis of inheriting traditional gourd painting from his uncle, Wang Yujin has creatively combined poetry, calligraphy, painting, and seal cutting, integrated heavy colors, freehand brushwork, and pyrography, and applied “micro-writing and micro-carving.” All these have led to the creation of gourd paintings pleasing to the eyes.
“We cannot lose traditional Chinese things in our generation. Instead, we should pass them down, spread them, and promote them to younger generations.”
In recent years, the Yiyuan County Culture and Tourism Bureau has attached great importance to the inheritance and preservation of intangible cultural heritage and encouraged the promotion of intangible cultural heritage on campuses. As an art teacher, Wang Yujin has decided to grasp the opportunity to pass gourd painting down to younger generations by promoting it to more students.
At Lucun Town Central Primary School in Yiyuan County, Wang Yujin gives lectures to students, imparting knowledge of intangible cultural heritage as an inheritor. The school has also set up a “gourd painting” inheritance society to allow the students to sense the charm and joy of intangible cultural heritage in their creations.
Over the past two years, great achievements have been made in the inheritance of intangible cultural heritage through the concerted efforts of both teachers and students. They have won numerous awards at different levels of competition for their wonderful works, including the Golden Prize at the 2019 China Forest Products Trade Fair, the Third Prize at the video competition “Video by All · Healthy Lifestyle with Intangible Cultural Heritage” in 2020, and the Third Prize at Zibo’s First Cultural Creativity and Copyright Design Competition. Apart from that, their works have also participated in the 2019 Chinese Treasures Exhibition and the Shandong Select Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibitions.
As noted by Wang Yujin, “With pointers, painting brushes, books by the window, I should not idle away my time.” Over the years, gourd painting has been given new life by the superb skills of Wang Yujin. He has veritably achieved the innovative transformation and development of intangible cultural heritage.