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Bronze art master brings new vitality to ancient craft

By Shen Li| CGTN| Updated: May 10, 2022 L M S

Editor's note: Bronze holds a special meaning in Chinese culture. The Bronze Age, starting around 1700 BC, had a profound impact on the development of civilization in the nation. In our special four-part series, we will follow one of China's most well-known bronze art masters, Zhu Bingren. His innovative ideas have helped to bring new vitality to this ancient craft. In the first episode, we go back to the beginning of his journey, to see how his family tradition of making bronzeware has influenced his artistic works.

Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, boasts the most bronze architecture in China. People can board a traditional cruise ship on the West Lake or view the exquisite decorations at Lingyin Temple. And the man behind all these bronze wonders is none other than veteran artisan Zhu Bingren.

The Leifeng Pagoda is located near the West Lake in the city of Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. /CFP

After extensive research digging through old archives and numerous trials and errors, Zhu was able to realize his vision. His colored copper sculpting technique had never been applied in the construction and engineering field before. Experts came to him with many questions.

However Zhu refused to back down. By citing past examples of the use of bronze art in traditional structures, he was finally able to convince the team. And the result was no less than stunning.

Zhu went on to create bronze architectural wonders in the following years. He restored other ancient structures, including the Golden Summit on Emei Mountain in Sichuan and Shanghai's landmark Jing'an Temple.

For Zhu, bronze can take any shape and be presented in any color he can imagine. With his innovative vision and skillful techniques, the wonders of the Bronze Age have been resurrected and updated to fit the modern era.

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