Can we combine traditional Chinese craft techniques with industrially manufactured materials to create innovative future artifacts and design outputs?
Known as “China’s Ancient Bronze Capital”, Tongling is a traditional Chinese city famed for it’s prolific deposits of mineral ore and it’s industrial mining, smelting and processing of copper and bronze.
As one of the world’s leading producers of industrial Copper and Bronze, Tongling has become extremely prosperous and has seen a vast growth in both it’s population and industry over the last decades. However, despite this rapid growth in mining and associated industries, there has been an almost complete decline in its ancient metal handicrafts and artisan metalworkers. At the same time, some traditional meaningful customs were disappeared.
Through this project, I am interested in how we can utilise Tonglings industrially produced minerals and metals to create valuable craft artifacts which have deep meaning to the local people that once again celebrate Tongling’s rich cultural heritage and preserve it for future generations. They could also contain the local people’s best regards.
Photography： Jayden Tang
These gems buried in the ground for more than three thousand years, they all come from the "China's ancient bronze capital". In local opinion, each ore have a symbolic significance which could bring them happiness and good health. They always gather these stones in the pool under the traditional patio where they live. In the local rainy season, whenever it rains, the rain drops fall along the patio into the pool, wash the stones, symbolizing the arrival of wealth.
Even though it's hard to see the traditional living space and architecture in the old city any more, the meaning of the stones and the pools are remembered.
As these stones have a special significance in the state ore, in this project they are not polished, not by modern programming craft. They retain the natural state, but also retains the most original blessing.
"Hey, here's a flower for you, I also brought you the leaves, roots and the earth as well."
Photography: Yixing Fang