As the old saying goes, “All the wise have a quick mind, which leads to fun. There is no fun in the world that doesn’t come from wisdom.” Therefore, the ultimate beauty of craft lies in wisdom.
Among the diverse cultures, folk craft is the most direct and conspicuous way to reflect local culture. Suzhou handicraft has always been thought highly of for its delicacy and elegance. It could be dated back to Qin dynasty (ca. the 3rd century B.C.) when famous sword makers Ganjiang and Moye appeared in Suzhou. Ever since Wei, Jin and the Southern and Northern dynasties (from the 3rd century C.E. to the 6th century C.E.), handicraft prospered to a large extent, especially after several times of people’s migration to south. It came to prime in the Ming and Qing dynasties (from the 17th century C.E. to the late 19th century). Every piece of handicraft reflects the skill and painstaking effort of the craftsman, as well as the extensive and profound culture of the time.
With the rapid development of global urbanization and industrialization nowadays, business environment closely associated with traditional handicraft is fading away, which results in dual test coming from internal heritance and external impact. It is the responsibility of the museum to revitalize traditional handicraft by heritance and innovation of youth craftsmen, to make it part of our life and promote innovation.
Craftsmen should believe that nothing has not gone through thunderstorm and every cloud has a silver lining.
Craftsmen ought to know that the world keeps changing and new ideas come one after another.
This exhibition is tailor-made for the first three winners, i.e. Fang Qinghua, Ru Yuefeng and Chen Guancheng, of the first Suzhou Youth Handicraft Exhibition and Competition held in 2019. The Suzhou style bird cages, carved jades and incense burners showcased in this exhibition not only reveal skills of the young craftsmen and charm of Suzhou handicraft, but also reflect Suzhou local culture and craftsmen’s wisdom that has been passed from generation to generation.
Director of Suzhou Museum