Craftsman plans giant wood carving featuring canal

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A wood carving craftsman for nearly four decades, Zheng Chunhui's passion for the art continues to grow stronger.

Recently, Zheng has been busy with a new creation — a wood carving 100 meters long and 2.6 meters high, depicting the Beijing-Hangzhou Canal.

The canal, which starts in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, and ends in Beijing, is one of three big projects of ancient China. The other two are the Great Wall and the karez well system in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

In his carving, Zheng hopes to represent local traditions and customs along the canal's route.

Born in 1968, Zheng became a wood carving craftsman in 1983. His birthplace, Putian, Fujian province, is known for its Putian wood carving, a national intangible cultural heritage.

"I was quite interested in painting and other arts during childhood. I chose to became a craftsman," Zheng said.

His love of painting can be seen in his wood carvings.

Similar to the mountain and water themes found in Chinese ink paintings, Zheng's works are also about nature.

"My inspiration comes from poems and painting from ancient celebrities, and I will recreate them with different types of wood to express my understanding," Zheng said.

To promote the craft and exhibit his works, Zheng opened an wood carving gallery in Putian in 2015, the first run by an individual artist and free to the public.

Zheng gained many titles at both the provincial and national levels. On Monday, he was honored as a national art worker with both talent and ethics.

"It is my honor to gain this title, and also a recognition of Putian wood carving," Zheng said. "My confidence in inheriting and passing this craft is also consolidated."

Zheng said he plans to finish the Beijing-Hangzhou Canal wood carving in three years.

"It will be a grand job and take a lot of time and energy to complete, but I am confident in my experience and skill," he said.

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