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Molding the future of an ancient craft

Updated: 2022-12-01 07:35 ( China Daily )
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A Tongguan kiln porcelain in the shape of a fish from the Tang Dynasty.[Photo provided to China Daily]

It has made Liu all the more determined to pursue the trade that has been carried forward in his family for three generations.

Liu has been exposed to local porcelain art since he was 4 years old. As a child, he loved fashioning figurines and animals out of clay.

"The porcelain items were everywhere in Tongguan," Liu says.

He started to focus on the porcelain craft with his grandfather, at the age of 15.

"My grandfather asked us (children) to knead the clay and shape it into dozens of eggs every day," he recalls.

"I didn't know what it was for in the beginning, but then I realized it was a practice for molding the heads of figurines."

Liu went on to study molding, design and integration of traditional craftsmanship with modern technology.

From 1981-83, Liu followed modern sculpture master Zhou Qingding to hone his skills in urban garden and animal sculptures, getting it down to a fine art.

He later applied the skills he learned to his porcelain creations, which brought to life characters from well-known literary works, including Journey to the East, a 16th-century Chinese novel by Wu Yuantai.

In 1986, Liu took the lead in designing and producing a porcelain relief featuring an eagle with a pair of wings 1.8 meters wide for the Hunan Hall at the Great Hall of the People.

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