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Craftsman wants to spread folk techniques of woodturning

A traditional rural handicraft that makes wooden bowls with tree roots has been passed down for generations in Shawo village, Handan city in North China’s Hebei province.

Named as Muxuan in Chinese or woodturning by locals, the folk craft has a history of more than five centuries and the tradition has been passed down for generations, according to local historical records.

During the craft’s golden age in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Shawo village had more than a hundred family workshops that made wooden bowls. About 400,000 pieces of the bowls were sold nationwide each year.

The woodturning craft was listed as a city-level intangible cultural heritage by Handan in 2017.

Photo taken on April 12, 2018 is a woodturning craft toy. [Photo/IC]

Li Xuemin, the 11th generation for inheriting the woodturning techniques, visited some senior craftsmen at Shawo village in recent years, learned skills from them and repaired some old woodturning lathes.

“Traditional craft should be preserved here, and my aim is to promote the woodturning techniques among young generations,” 42-year-old Li said.

Li has been invited to exhibitions on wooden culture in different countries including the US, Laos and Cambodia to live show the process of making wooden bowls with hands and feet operating a lathe.

“I hope more and more people will know about the traditional Chinese culture,” he said.