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Foreigners enjoy the charm of Confucian culture-themed pottery sculpture in Jinan

2020/8/19 16:28:53

The art of pottery sculpture in China emerged in the Qin and Han dynasties and has profound cultural connotations. On August 17th, two international students together with Touch Shandong column went to learn the craft of pottery sculpture from Wang Lingtao, an inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage of pottery sculpture of Jinan.

Located in Huaiyin District in the west of Jinan city, the Heweigui Pottery Studio is a small, quiet and elegant place, where a wide variety of pottery statues, ornaments and utensils made by Wang himself are on display. The most eye-catching ones are the pottery statues of Confucius in all sizes and diverse styles, and the sculpture series of the “72 disciples of Confucius”: Yan Hui who was optimistic and studious, Gongye Chang who could speak bird language, and Zhong You who followed Confucius's travels through all the kingdoms…Everything amazing Precious and Fiyin, the two foreign visitors.

Wang has been an enthusiast for sinology and folk art since young, and has been devoted to pottery sculpture since the late 1990s. His sculptures are mainly of Confucian sages in a vivid, humorous and amiable style, which are highly praised by Confucian scholars. Wang greeted Precious and Fiyin with zuoyi, a traditional Chinese greeting gesture with folded palms, and explained the origin, development and features of the art of pottery sculpture in China.

According to Wang, the earliest pottery sculptures were bowls, pots and other utensils, and artistic works like statues and figurines emerged later on; for round pottery, jiggering is the most basic process, which seems simple but actually requires subtle and even use of strength. After Wang’s instruction and in-person demonstration, Precious and Fiyin had a try and successfully made the prototype of a bowl and a cup respectively.

After jiggering, Precious and Fiyin each colored with paintbrush a semi-finished pottery statue of the cartoon-version Confucius. Wang told them that coloring is a craft that requires calmness and patience, where one should choose the size of paintbrush according to that of the colored area, carefully control the strokes to keep the colored area even and uniform, and perfect the details with thinner strokes before finishing. At the end of coloring, Precious and Fiyin inscribed their cartoon Confucius pottery sculptures with Chinese characters ren (benevolence) and yi (righteousness) respectively.

"We are very interested in Confucianism."said Precious excitedly. "The combination of Confucian figures and pottery sculpture is a very good idea and should be further promoted, so that more foreigners can intuitively feel the charm of Confucian culture."

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