This is China Series

The Poetry of Chinese Carving. Turning bamboo and brick into works of art

The Chinese art of engraving is famous around the world. It takes many forms, from brick engravings that adorn the walls of temples and traditional Chinese buildings, to wood carvings on enormous mural-like panels and fine art on bamboo tableware. Chinese masters that excel in this craft have become internationally famous and had their works displayed in museums all over the world. Although this traditional art is deeply rooted in Chinese history, it hasn’t always been profitable. However, interest has grown recently, which has enabled craftsmen to finally make a decent living from their work.

Related: Little Miss Kung Fu. Girl power in a Shaolin martial arts school

It takes many years to master the art. All types of carving require talent, precision, patience, and attention to detail. One piece can take months of meticulous work. Masters also make their own tools and develop their own techniques. The secrets of the trade are often passed down through the generations within families. 

Related: The Secrets of Wudang Wushu: Chinese Monks Perfect a Chinese Martial Art

An RTD film crew and journalist Nikita Rudakov travel to China to meet the country’s most famous engraving masters. Enlisting the help of Xu Bing Fang, who comes from an engraver dynasty herself, the team visits the most famous places associated with the craft. These include the city of Dongyang, famous for exquisite wood carving dating back to the 8th century, and the city of Huangshan, whose old town resembles an open-air museum showcasing the history of brick carving.