BEIJING, Jan. 5 -- Revitalized
Jiading Villa precinct displays a full range of Chinese cultural heritage.
China's first Bamboo Carving Museum was opened last
week in Shanghai's northwest Jiading District to give life to an art form in
danger of extinction.
Situated in the tranquil Jiading Villa of Zhouqiao
town, the 500-square-meter exhibition hall houses 120 masterpieces collected
from Shanghai Museum, Museum of Qingpu District and individual collectors.
The new museum is located in the recently renovated
fusion-style Jiading Villa, a property built in 1942 by Jiang Shucai, a merchant
from Jiangsu Province.
The 0.67 hectare property combines both ancient
Chinese and Western architectural styles with a central lily pond, a pavilion
and a stone bridge.
It has a rich cultural heritage in its own right with
well-preserved historical sights, old residential houses and elegant water views
around the museum.
A seven-floor Fahua Pagoda and the largest Confucius
Temple south of the Yangtze River are particularly impressive. Built in 1219,
the temple is neighbors with an imperial examination museum and Huilongtan Park,
which literally translates to "the pond where dragons gather together." Built in
the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the park is 4.67 hectares with kiosks and terraces
lining the lakeshore along with hills that are stepped in an exotic stone
The delicate art works in the bamboo carving museum
date back to the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the heyday of
traditional Chinese bamboo carving.
The museum provides a journey through both bamboo
culture and Chinese culture.
Some of the exhibits demonstrate the highest level of
Chinese bamboo carving while others are small and delicate, intricately wrought
by China's master craftsmen of the time.
Bamboo carving artists will be on site in the museum
to demonstrate their techniques and visitors will have a chance to do their own
The district has long been closely connected with
bamboo carving culture as one of the two original areas in China that once
proliferated with bamboo.
Four hundred years ago, the bamboo carving art was
flourishing in Jiading, a heritage that stretches between the late 16th century
and early 20th century.
Another center is in Jinling, Zhejiang Province.
Zhu Songling, a famous painter, writer and
calligrapher from the era, developed the carving art form and passed it on to
his son Zhu Xiaosong and grandson Zhu Sansong.
The most popular and traditional ancient patterns for
bamboo carving were lotus flowers, trees, animals and Buddha figures, plus
The works of one of China's greatest bamboo carving
masters, Zhu Sansong, are displayed in the museum.
The outstanding exhibit is a brush pot which vividly
depicts a story from "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms," showing expressions on
the faces of people standing and sitting under the shadow of a big tree,
chatting with each other.
The bamboo carving art works on display are widely
different in form, including deep relief, low relief, transparent relief and
full relief, techniques similar to wood carving.
Jiading native Wang Wei was the most famous carving
master in the 1980s, training four apprentices and setting up a workshop. But
bamboo carving is a time-consuming art and yields low profits.
With the art form facing extinction, bamboo carving
was listed last year as a city-level Cultural Intangible Heritage, so more
resources could be applied to protect artifacts and educate people about the
craft. Jiading District also set up a bamboo carving association.
The initiative is paying dividends with evidence that
bamboo carving in Jiading is gaining a nationwide reputation.
"It's the first time I've seen such a great variety
of bamboo carving art works in Shanghai," said local visitor Yang Lin.
(Source: Shanghai Daily)