The Suzhou craftsmen are born to have a special attitude on their works, just like the saying in Yuanhe County Annals, “Suzhou craftsmen are professional. They can turn normal works into outstanding ones, quite better than those of other places.” Suzhou still keeps this reputation nowadays.
Zhong Jinde was born in Guangfu, an ancient town in Suzhou. In the Ming dynasty, there was a famous artisan, Kuai Xiang. He was the pioneer of Xiangshan artisans. For hundreds of years, countless of mahogany carving artists come from Xiangshan and Zhong Jinde is undoubtedly one of the best.
When we talk about the best of Suzhou mahogany carving, the Pearl Pillar of Buddha's Shrine of the Northern Song dynasty unearthed from the Ruiguang Pagoda should come first. The Pearl Pillar of Buddha's Shrine was designed with different kinds of materials and used various techniques. It could be counted as the top collection, which takes sandal wood as the main body and is engraved with vivid human figures and a thousand Buddhist scenes. It undoubtedly reaches the peak of Suzhou wood carving.
After more than a thousand years, Zhong Jinde pays tribute to the Pearl Pillar of Buddha's Shrine with his superb wood carving skills. He applies the techniques of yin and yang carving, plain carving, high relief, openwork, enamel carving and three-dimensional round carving to precious ancient sandalwood design and produce in an ancient architectural manner. It presents an amazing stupa, and its exquisite craftsmanship really reaches the limit of artificial intelligence.
Zhong Jinde has been in the arts for nearly 40 years, and he has a unique understanding of craftsmanship and materials. He is unique in the design and production of mahogany small pieces and Ming style furniture. Every exquisite and vivid sculpture is his crafts spirit. The ingenuity and precision of all things in the world, are blend in square inch.
At the same time, I would like to thank Mr. Zhong Jinde for donating two works of "Holiness" and "Ode to Tea" to the Suzhou Museum to contribute to enriching our collection.
Director of Suzhou Museum