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                        Yimeng Paper-cutting


    Yimeng area is a well-known hometown for paper-cutting. No matter which village or window you passed by, you can always find auspicious, fiery-red grilles decorated the village life. On the white picket fence, oven, snowy night and old trees, pairs of skillful hands with flying scissors, cutting out the infinite beauty of the ever-changing farm life and intense idyllic views. Yimeng paper-cutting is a double value handicraft which sold in large bazaar. Diverse and competed flowers of pillow, shoes, hats and insoles flowers for lovers to choose, all is provided in the market. When it comes to Spring Festival, not only every household in towns and villages pastes couplets, also hangs rows of colorful letterhead under the lintel of the door. It flutters with the wind, hot prosperous, merging with the couplets and door paintings, shaping a sharp contrast with the monotonous snow-white natural environment, adding a beaming atmosphere to the new spring.

     Paper-cutting is the carrier for folk sentiment. Mr. Wang Bin from Linyi art gallery has gained representative achievements in the field of paper-cutting. The folk artists who lived in a cold, damp basement in the 1970s, deeply embedded the root of artistic creation into the fertile soil of ancestral culture, reflecting spirit of times from the refreshing vigor which extracted from folk art. The large-scale paper-cutting works "Lotus Takako", "peach child", "Wang Xiang lay on the ice to get fish", which are co-created with his student Tian Guihong won three gold medals and two silver in the national paper-cut exhibition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the PRC; paper-cut comic "Wang Xiang lay on the ice to get fish" was collected by the Academy of Art of Tsinghua University. This papercut set the heaven and earth as semicircle, with semi-circle snowflake dancing in the sky, cutting a big fish at the abdomen where Wang lay and a group of tiny fishes floating around, constituting a Han Dynasty stone carvings and full of decorative modern woodcut. In his other paper-cut creations such as " one hundred and eight heroes in Water Margin" ,"Journey to the West", " Romance of the Three Kingdoms ", "Dream of Red Mansions", Wang absorbed the rich connotation of traditional folk art, drastic and vivid in shapes and knife techniques, which transformed the method into invisible, put traditional charm of folk art into new paper-cut language symbols. Mr. Wang also draws on traditional Chinese painting techniques of mounting, reverse the large-scale paper-cut works on the surface of cloth and spraying, then stick to seal the circum of the papercutting, mounting every papercutting works successfully. Also there is a Wabu door pad in Yimeng area, called chromatic door pad, known as "change brothel" in folk, rich yet simple, fresh without being kitsch, unified and rich in changes. It floats in every family lintel in Spring Festival, like water flows with festive charm. 



    The blue calico and colored calico in Yimeng area enjoy widespread renown. Cangshan, Junan, linshu area still retain the old printing workshop. Those thatched cottages idle scattered in the quaint mountain village, exudes ancient aroma with a nostalgic feeling supporting the arts, deeply sowing the beauty of the blue cloth in Yimeng earth. The pigment for blue calico is indigo which extracted from a plant called blue grass, it enjoys a stable physical properties and delicate colors. In the Warring States Period, Xunzi who was appointed as Lanling magistrate stated in the "Encouraging Learning", the dye extracted from the indigo is bluer than the plant. This simple quiet and smoothing blue, accompanied by auspicious mysterious and beautiful patterns, even pure than the elegant azure sky and white clouds, more affectionate than the land of blooming flowers. This supreme silent language of art represents the wisdom and passion for creating life of all sons and daughters in Yimeng area. The pattern of blue calico set seven-spotted flower and bird as keynote, composite the structure with a small point, short-term and small surface, looks like cat's claw and also deemed plum; some use "wire wheels" and other traditional patterns. Most Multi-color prints with red, green, pink, purple, yellow colored overprint, which owns a compact structure and bright color.

    Blue calico is a traditional Chinese folk hollow-out white pulp resisting stencil prints, also known as indigo fabric, commonly called "drug spot cloth", "gardening cloth", dating back to more than 1300 years ago. Blue cloth is enameled with lime, soy grilled blue synthetic mortar, made by cotton, handmade textiles, engraved version, squeegee and other multi-channel dyeing process. Multi-pattern based on the massively popular folk tales, drama characters, but more by the plants, animals and birds, combined into auspicious patterns, using metaphor, euphony, analogy and other techniques to express the ideals and beliefs of common people towards a better future, this cotton fabric is nontoxic to humans, playing a natural role in health care.

     Blue calico heritor——Xiang Youwen

    Xiang Youwen, a craftsman from Dazhong village, Cangshan County in Linyi. He started to learn cloth dyeing skills from his grandfather at the age of 17, the blue calico that he prints is well received by foreign friends and once all the exhibited works were acquired by international friends at Weifang International Kite Festival. The blue calico he printed has brought high attention from domestic relevant persons, a number of experts and scholars have come to observe. In the year of 1992, professor Ye Youxin from Shandong College of Arts came to Da Zhong village to observe the blue calico. In 1998, Professor Yang Yang from Tsinghua University Academy of Fine Arts led more than 30 teachers and students to investigate the blue calico. After 2000, scholar Han Huirong from Central Academy of Fine Arts on folk art and famous Chinese artist Han Meilin came to investigate and designed a variety of patterns for Xiang Youwen, making this ancient traditional craft glow with vitality.Blue calico- pairs of small chicken     Blue calico- phoenix frolicking around the peony.

head portrait, tiger, lioness, the Monkey King, Zhao Yun, Pigsy, Fan Lihua, large Guanyin, lion, beautiful girl, hedgehog, Mu Guiying , boys, monk Xuan Zang, Zhang Fei, lucky whistle, Zhou Cang, maid, Zhuge Liang, head doll, Butterfly Lovers, Liu Bei, Guan Gong, songziniangniang, owl, God of wealth, frogs, seven items sesame official, She Taijun, small Guanyin, a small tiger, lion, rabbit, dolls, Nu Wa, Huang Zhong and so on.

    According to legend, Yimeng clay sculpture originates from the years of Xian Feng in the Qing Dynasty. It has been nearly 200 years of the masses traditional hand kneading, vivid and colorful. Currently there are more than 40 patterns, majorly including Kirin sends sons, colored dogs, Golden Monkey, Erh-lang , herald daybreak, elegant ladies

    XiaoGuo Clay Sculpture

    It’s said that XiaoGuo clay sculpture, especially in Xingming Township, originates from Qing Dynasty, the region of Xianfeng. Traditional hand-crafted clay figurine owns a history about 200 years, not only vivid but colorful. With both conventional skills and modern techniques, it generally developed into a popular folk unique craft. XiaoGuo clay sculpture could be sold throughout the south of Shandong and the north of Jiangsu when it’s hottest. Even in fallow winter, craftsmen take their tools with them, heading for markets including Tianjin, Nanjing, Danyang, Kaifeng, Luoyang, and Hebei. As a family conventional technique, it’s celebrated for its exquisiteness. As a kind of folk art, it’s famous for its lively style. Usually people just use local materials to make this clay figurine. A family can put it into mass production. When it comes to its extensive subject, dramatic story and fairy tale emerge, for example, Monkey King and Pigsy,the White Snake, the Cowherd and the Weaving Maid, the Butterfly Lovers, the Goddess of Mercy, and so on. It must be pointed out that China Doll features prominently in the list, such as Doll Wearing Topknot, Doll with Rooster in hand, Doll with a Whistle etc.. Besides, animals are included. For instance, there are couple of lions, tiger, rooster, dog, monkey, horse, goat, flog and so forth. The shape is complete but not monotonous, simple but not vulgar, exaggerated but still sincere. Xiaoguo clay sculpture is met with unanimous applause everywhere.




The Clay Sculpture of Chuzhuang

       Chuzhuang has been making clay toys for three hundred years. According to tradition, a villager pressed to build the wall of Linyi City, got a clay horse. He took that horse as a model and managed to make a new clay sculpture, Eight Immortals. It was a really hit when launched in the market. The types of clay toy sprung out as the craftsmen increased. In 1930s, adapted by vegetables and fruits, animals, fairy tales, drama story, the clay toy was totally original, colorful, and well-made. Teenagers just can’t take their eyes off it. People saw a tremendous boost in sales from then on. The toy sold far to Jiangsu and Hebei and became the mainstay of the village. Most people made their living by making clay toys. An interesting ballad was widely spread, “Those print paper cannot touch Chuzhuang craftsman”(Wang Zhenyi and Wu Lan printed paper for the official), blacksmith and carpenter are beaten by Dianwen(Chu Dianwen possesses a clay whistle store), which presented that the industry of clay toy in Chuzhuang was in full flourish.

The Toy Called Muxuan of Tancheng

    Muxuan had it spring in the Turning of Yuan-ming Dynasty in Fannian Village, Gangshang Town, Tancheng County, Linyi City, the south of Shandong Pro.. It was 600 years ago now, commonly called “Shuahuo.” Muxuan mostly went forward in Fannian Village, passed down from generation to generation with innovation and the representative works. From 1970s-1980s, Muxuan turned to be produced by machinery instead of by hand, led by a villager called Fan Jimei. It’s shown that Muxuan expanded to 10 categories with 600 assortments. Traditional works comprised Tiger Head Crabstick, Bonbon Puppet, Swallow Carriage, Tumbler, Buddhist with Muyu, Beijing Opera masks and so on. That Nuts Puppet, Small Train, Rocket, Plane, Gun are innovative works. Not only did those products win award in National Folk Crafts Competition or Exhibition but also be collected in National Art Museum of China, China Song Qingling Foundation etc.. They have been exported to Japan, America, Korea, Singapore, in total over 30 countries and regions, earning exchange of 100 million USD. These elaborate and popular works have a strong flavor of rural life, reflecting how the local people live. And part of these toys apply engineering concepts explains why they are movable and audible. Never judge from appearances. In fact, these simple toys, Muxuan, refer to bon voyage, which means “keep you safe and sound.”


 Yimeng Fragrant Pouch

    This is also a kind of popular and wide-spread craft with several thousand years, full of Yimeng features. The pouch is made of various discarded materials and flexible wires. The design is based on a few colors which the local folk in favor of: Chinese red, bright green, pink and black, and with some other colors diversifying. In addition to ingenious pattern, dainty embroidery renders the pouch twinkling.


    Linyi Embroidery

    Embroidery comprises purling, cross stitching, and cutting. The teenage girls in Linyi take learning to embroider insole as a beginning. Soon they will turn to be practiced hand when they are 17 or 18. The embroidery will be regarded as a token of love. Generally, the rosebuds will embroider a red heart to the forefront warriors. And as the maids, they will embroider a pair of insoles for their future husband as trousseau to show how accomplished they are.

    Yimeng Clay Whistle

    The clay whistle is prevalent among Yimeng District about 340 years. It’s recorded in the Brief History of Folk Toys of China that “Chuzhuang is famous for Ox Head Whistle, Double Mouthpiece Whistle...” The colorful design of the traditional one is simple but special, mirroring the lives of local inhabitants. People wear that whistle by a multicolored string. That whistle is a toy of course. However, it’s also a collection. Particularly children are in favor of it. It found a good sale in Jiangsu, Hubei etc.. Almost all the people made their living in this industry.


Linyi Willow Arts

    China is the biggest willow wares export processing site. According to the export statistics in 2005, the export of willow wares of Shandong constituted 80% of the national total, and that export of Linyi accounted for 80% of the provincial total. The industrial zone is mainly located in 4 districts in the banks of Yishu River----Junan, Linshu, Hedong, and Tancheng. The best one is Linshu, and it made up 40% of the sum. The other 3 districts respectively took up 20%. Refer to Hedong, 80% of that industry situate in Tanghe Town. And there is a small proportion of willow planter in Tangtou, Zhengwang, Zhonggou and Fenghuangling.

    Linyi Cloth Tiger

    Tiger stands for bravery, auspice and safety. Fengling Sun is an expert of folk custom of Linyi. She showed us a record in “the History of the Development of Custom---- Sacrifice”, “Ghosts don’t dare to get in if there is a tiger drawn on door.” When they are unable to resist the threat from outside, people will imagine that a beast will leap out and fight for them. What is prevailing in Yimeng District is not real tiger, Tiger of Cloth instead. Sun also mentioned that the women-made tiger is also time-honored, but its concrete original is not traceable. That tiger prospered in Ming Dynasty. And in Qing Dynasty, it has reached its prosperity. From the very beginning, only children of officials carry a tiger. Their parents hope that they’ll be safe and sound. Soon after, it was familiarized in ordinary. Generally, it was processed into a kind of special folk craft.



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