Cork paintings

Home Culture 2019-06-11

Cork paintings

Cork painting, also known as cork carving, woodcut. Chinese traditional folk sculpture crafts. It is mainly produced in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. It is a handicraft combining carving and painting. Simple tone, delicate engraving, vivid image, good at reproducing ancient Chinese pavilions, pavilions, gardens, so that people can see behind their scenes. Using relief, round carving, carving and other techniques, carefully carved into flowers, trees, pavilions, trestles, boats and characters, and then used grass as white cranes, peacocks, elk and other birds and animals, according to the design of the picture, pasted on the paper lining, with three-dimensional and semi-three-dimensional wood paintings, installed in glass frames, has become a unique art. It draws lessons from the method of "frame scenery" in Chinese gardens, with novel and unique composition, distinct picture layers and simple and elegant color.

In 2008, it was selected as the second batch of national intangible cultural heritage list.

Historical Origin

Cork painting came out at the beginning of this century and originated in Xiyuan Village, the eastern suburb of Fuzhou. Legend has it that in 1913 after the Revolution of 1911, someone brought back a painting similar to "woodcut" from Germany. Inspired by local folk sculptors Chen Chunrun, Wu Qiqi and Zheng Lixi, the cork layer of Quercus variabilis imported from Spain, Portugal and Arabia was used as the main raw material in Fujian Institute of Technology Studies. The cork with light texture, loose texture, elasticity and fine texture was cut into thin slices. Various traditional Chinese sculpture techniques were used to replace pens with knives and handicraft. Carved with exquisite carvings, we can make complex pictures with fine texture, and make use of the limited space in the picture frame to make the image of the scenery three-dimensional, and arrange various pavilions and pavilions with distinct national style. Cork painting is elegant and simple in tone and vivid in image. The picture is like Song people's brushwork. It has profound artistic conception, profound profound and ancient, exquisite and lovely. It has the artistic effect of "hundreds of miles of mountains, all in one frame". There are many kinds of cork paintings, including magnificent screens, hanging screens, large ornaments, small ornaments, products combined with practical use, tourist souvenirs and so on, reaching 230 specifications, 450 varieties of designs and colors. The works are sold all over the country and more than 30 countries and regions such as Europe, America, Japan and Southeast Asia.

A Brilliant Period

Fuzhou cork painting was created in 1914 by Wu Qiqi, a folk artist in Fuzhou. Skillful craftsmen make use of soft cork texture, fine texture, soft tone, traditional folk sculpture techniques, knives instead of pens, carefully carve cork into Chinese painting style pavilions, flowers, trees and other components, and then according to the creative needs, these components are organically combined into a complete landscape, the exquisite Chinese folk sculpture skills and Chinese painting beautiful and beautiful. The profound artistic conception is skillfully combined and cork painting is named for it. Cork painting used to be brilliant.

After Wu Qiqi created the cork painting, he returned to Xiyuan Village in Fuzhou to set up a handicraft workshop. The villagers of Xiyuan Village competed to learn art, and cork painting became one of the economic sources of Xiyuan villagers. Before liberation, Fuzhou cork painting had been sold well overseas and had been exhibited at the World Expo. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, as the unique folk crafts in the world, the development of cork painting has been concerned and supported by the leaders of the Party and the state. Leaders such as Zhu De, Dong Biwu and Guo Moruo have visited Fuzhou Craft Wood Painting Factory, the main producer of cork painting. Comrade Deng Xiaoping left the inscription of "exquisite folk art" after visiting cork paintings.

During this period, cork painting has made great artistic achievements. It has won the highest prize and cup award of China Arts and Crafts Hundred Flowers Award several times. Some excellent works have been selected to decorate Fujian Hall and Taiwan Hall of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and some works have been taken to the world as diplomatic ceremony. Cork painting not only embodies its value in culture, but also contributes to economy. At the beginning of the reform and opening-up, cork painting sold well in more than 60 countries and regions on five continents, with export output value of more than 50 million yuan. It was one of the products with the highest foreign trade exchange rate in Fujian Province in the 1980s.

Decline day by day

However, the good times are not long. In a few years, the cork painting industry has fallen into an unprecedented predicament because of the collapse of factories, the closure of knives by masters and the change of professionals.

Master Huang Shiqin went to Fuzhou Craft Wood Painting Factory in 1972 and worked until the factory closed down in 1999. He witnessed the history of Fuzhou Cork Painting from brilliance to decline. He said that in the late 1980s and early 1990s, cork paintings, which mainly depended on exports, suffered heavy losses because of the "cold winter" in China's foreign trade market. In 1988, the export volume of Fuzhou Woodpainting Factory alone exceeded the 5 million yuan mark, but in 1990, the export volume fell to more than 200,000 yuan. In addition, some manufacturers and distributors are eager to make quick profits. In order to keep costs, they cut corners, make rough products and cut prices with each other. As a result, a large number of inferior quality products flooded the market, which caused a devastating blow to the reputation of cork painting. At the same time, the relevant functional departments did not timely and effective supervision of the production and operation of cork painting, thus losing the market. Speaking of this, Master Huang sighed bitterly: "Art cork painting has transformed into river and lake cork painting."

Today, the market of cork painting industry is still unable to open. Take Xiyuan Village, the birthplace, as an example, according to Wu Chuanfu, president of Fuzhou Xiyuan Cork Painting Association, in the 1980s, during the heyday of Fuzhou Cork Painting, more than 90% of families in Xiyuan Village engaged in cork painting production, and nearly 50% of families in Yuefeng Village, a neighbouring village, engaged in this industry with 15,000 employees. The Fuzhou West Garden Cork Painting Association and the Fuzhou West Garden Cork Painting Research and Technology Development Center are mostly old artists, young people are very few, the cork picture is facing the risk of inheritance interruption.

Road to Revitalization

As the competent department of the arts and crafts industry in Fuzhou, the people concerned in the research and development center of the arts and crafts in Fuzhou believe that under the current market economic system, this traditional folk handicraft can only develop and grow if it goes to the market, except that the government departments should give active support in policies, regulations, organizations, investment, looking for business opportunities and personnel training, etc. Opportunities can lead to real revitalization.

Wu Zhisheng is the only veteran cork artist who has persisted in creating, exploring and practicing marketization since the decline of the industry as a whole. He created a cork painting creation center himself. He believed that the production and management units of cork painting should first establish a scientific management mechanism adapted to the market economic system, combining with the laws of folk arts and crafts themselves, and set up a contingent of talents who understand modern management and folk arts and crafts.

Secondly, cork painting skills must be innovated in form, content, use and skills, because the consumer group purely for appreciation and collection is small after all. Wu Zhisheng and his creative center have innovated and improved the appearance, content, theme and decoration of cork painting in order to keep up with the trend of the times and people's aesthetic taste. For example, they changed the traditional cork painting frame is always black set, using dark green, brown and other colors to decorate, so as to diversify the style. At the same time, they combine cork painting with people's daily necessities, such as pasting cork painting on the penholder, which is conducive to opening up the market of cork painting. Moreover, cork painting should actively seek and develop the market. Wu Zhisheng has actively used the opportunity of holding expositions and exhibitions all over the country to promote products, and has made great achievements.

Inheritance Significance

Wu Zhisheng's cork paintings were very popular at the Fujian Famous and Excellent Products Expo held in Beijing in June 2005. As soon as the products were sold out, follow-up orders flooded in. He also runs distribution centers in Beijing, Wuhan and Guangzhou, and creates cork paintings on the theme of tourist attractions. He also promotes cork paintings through tourism culture. Wu Zhisheng believes that cork painting must actively create a brand, in order to improve the visibility of cork painting products. In terms of personnel training, we should break through the traditional mode of teaching by teachers and apprentices, try to take the path of "academician school", absorb talents from art colleges and universities, and strive to make the school meet the needs of cork painting enterprises in curriculum setting, so that the school can train talents needed for enterprises, so as to comprehensively improve the cultural and artistic qualities of cork painting practitioners, so as to improve the whole industry. Overall skill level.

Method of making

The raw materials for cork painting are mainly Quercus variabilis from Spain, Portugal and Arabia in Europe. Cork has the advantages of impermeability, impermeability, no chemical effect, light and soft texture, non-flammable, corrosion resistance, wear resistance and elasticity, fine natural patterns and pure tone.

In order to cut cork into different slices, cork artists have invented and produced many tools for applying skills according to their aptitude in the past hundred years, which can be counted as dozens of different kinds. Cork painting seems to be just a relaxed desk craftsmanship, but it is not easy to do. For example, a building, window lattices, rafters, pillars, etc. are all fine as hairs, and the dense roofing tiles are less than one centimeter, while pine silk is fine and super-hairy.

Artistic Characteristics

The content mostly reflects the landscape color, scenic spots and historic sites and flower, grass, insect and fish. There are more than 200 specifications and more than 400 varieties of flowers and colors. Exquisite workmanship, lifelike shape, and has the advantages of lightweight, non-deformable, non-degumming, corrosion resistance and so on. Some people at home and abroad regard it as "three treasures" of Fuzhou craftsmanship with bodiless lacquerware and Shoushan stone carvings. There are more than 500 kinds of cork paintings in Fuzhou. The products are exported to 39 countries and regions. Some of them are displayed in Fujian Hall of the Great Hall of the People.

Making cork paintings involves selecting materials, carving, splicing and framing. Cork painting uses the artistic technique of "looking at the big from the small", "hundreds of miles from the mountains, all in one frame". Products include planar relief multi-level wall hanging, double-sided stand through screen and so on.

Heritage figures

Wu Qiqi, the founder of Chinese cork painting, is a native of Xiyuan Village, Xindian Township, Fuzhou suburb. In the second year of Xuantong (1910), Qiqi joined the carving class of Fujian Institute of Technology to study woodcarving. In the three years of the Republic of China, Xu Shiying, an inspector from Fujian Province, took a cork landscape picture from Germany and gave it to Chen Chunrun, the master of the craft Institute at that time, to imitate. Chen Chunrun, together with Wu Qiqi and Zheng Lixi, studied using the roots of Pinus sylvestris var. Fuzhou instead of "cork", carved into flowers, grass, trees and mountains, pasted on cardboard according to Chinese drawings, and made the first "cork painting" in China, which was particularly delicate and elegant. Wu Qiqi changed woodcarving production to cork painting production after three years of graduation from the "Missionary Institute", and opened after the governor (now the provincial government road) and became popular at home and abroad. Guo Moruo, a 25-year-old writer of the Republic of China, wrote a letter to Wu Qiqi expressing his great appreciation for his works. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Qiqi returned to Xiyuan Village to organize a "cork painting production team" and later changed it to a "production cooperative". In June 1956, Wu Qiqi participated in the Fujian Folk Art Museum Exhibition with his cork paintings and won the prize. In November, he also made a special speech on cork painting production at the First Congress of Old Artists of Fujian Folk Art and Crafts.

Wu Qiqi died in 1957 at the age of 64. His descendants include Wu Xuebao, Chen Rong and Chen Zhuang.

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