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Burned and burnished

2015/10/17 11:49:02   source:China Daily Africa

  Sparks, flames and smoke are the daily lot of craftsmen in a 500-sq m factory in Boshan, Zibo city, in Shandong province.

  Colored-glaze glass has been made there since the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and production matured during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Locals even built a Hearth God Temple in the Wanli Period of the Ming Dynasty to pray for the prosperity for the industry.

  Usually about 30 craftsmen surround a furnace, using iron rods to retrieve melted color glass. Back in their seats they demonstrate their skills of blowing, sculpting, spreading, pasting and stretching to shape the soft glass into delicate works of art.

  There are many kinds of colored-glaze products, glass balls being the most common. Small balls are popular with children, who use them as marbles.

  Tinted and embossed glass vessels are also popular because of their elegant appearance, especially those finished with yellow glaze. Other accessories include bracelets, beads, flower receptacles and hanging vases.

  Though those in the factory have only the most rudimentary of equipment to work with, what they turn out is valued for its exquisite look the world over.

  Craftsmen must cope with fierce heat as they pull glass from the furnace. Photos by Jiang Hao / For China Daily

  Blowing through a pipe creates a glass bubble.

  Shaping the glass.

  Once glass is pulled from the furnace, craftsmen cannot afford to waste time in getting back to their seats because if the glass cools down it will need to be reheated.

  The elegance of the products that leave the factory is in stark contrast with the rough and rudimentary equipment with which they are made.

  Craftsmen retrieve melted glass from the furnace.

  Craftsmen have lunch in the workshop.

  After polishing and washing, the colored glaze products are ready to be admired.

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Sponsor:Information Office of Shandong Provincial People’s Government