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Tradition Mission

Fiery sculpture

Updated: 2013-01-24
By (chinadaily.com.cn)
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Liuli artwork is among many of the traditional Chinese handicrafts, and it has more than 600 years of history. It can also be found on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

The making of the traditional Liuli involves puttingsilicon, acid, salt and metal oxide together and bringing it up to a high temperature until it starts to melt into the shape of a stick, then different colors of sticks are put together to burn in the fire. Then it is carved into shape as soon as it gets soft. Thus it is also called fiery sculpture.

Good Liuli artwork depends on the artist's experience and skill because of the speed required to make something with fire. We met Xing Lanxiang, China's most distinguished Liuli handicraft master, at the Beijing handicraft workshop.

Xing Lanxiang, master of glass art: I have been in this field since 1962, it has been 48 years now, almost half a century. I enjoy doing it. Whatever you want, whatever you like, I can achieve it out of tweezers.

The sufficient experience and the necessary skills as well as creativity all represent the rich Chinese culture. The elements that Liuli captures are aurum, cuprum, iron, so it appears in extremely vivid colors. The fact that it was quickly sculpted in the fire makes it more precious.

Xing Lanxiang, master of glass art: Now I am old. I don't want this art form to die, and that's why I am asking my two sons to resign and learn how to do this from me.

Xing Lanxiang's two sons, Liu Yu and Liu Xing, are doing creative and managing work at the Beijing Baigongfang handcraft workshop, where many people go just to see their mother’s works.

Liu Yu, Xing Lanxiang's sons: It's my responsibility to pass on this ancient art form.

Camera: Sun Peng & Cong Fangjun

Editor: Cong Fangjun

Translation: Cao Huan

Voice over: Huang Lan

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