Liu Qingshan, 60, comes from a family of stone carvers in Quyang county, Hebei province. At 12 he started learning the handicraft from his father and eight years later he participated in some big projects such as Yunnan Nationalities village and Beijing Zhongguan village.
Now he works at a stone carving factory in Tiangang town, Jilin province, with six other craftsmen. They usually create stone lions and stone figures.
To carve a stone lion, there are five steps: first, they draw the shape on a stone; second, they cut the unnecessary part with hammer and drill; third, they give shape to details, including hair, eye, nose; fourth, they carve them minutely; lastly, they polish the sculpture, which requires much patience and about 15 days’ work.
"In my eyes the stone creatures have life and soul," said Liu.
The procedure produces lots of dust and the craftsmen need to wear poison-proof masks. Normally, they have to change new gloves every three days and their hands are full of callosity.
Liu had 20 apprentices but now only four remain. "In recent years many craftsmen and apprentices do not want to take on this laborious profession," said Liu.
The stone carving as an old handicraft is gradually going out of fashion. Nevertheless, Liu has decided to hold on to until the end.
"I'll stick to it until the end. Now that I've chosen it as my profession, I'll try my best to take it to the next level. I'm willing to teach all I know to young people for free," said Liu.
A craftswoman works on a stone lion in Tiangang town, Jilin province, Oct 13, 2014. [Photo by Bai Shi/Asianewsphoto]