Dongyang wood carvings

Dongyang wood carving

DONGYANG, a city in the middle of ZHEJIANG PROVINCE near Shanghai, is famous for its woodcarving.  It is one of the major centres of woodcarving production of the MING (1368 – 1644) and QING (1644 – 1911) Dynasties to the present day.  Woodcarving in DONGYANG had already developed to a certain level by the  last two feudal dynasties ——— the MING and the QING.

Dongyang wood carving

The magnificent woodcarvings can be found in the Imperial Palaces of Beijing, Suzhou City, Hangzhou City and Anhui Province.  During the reign of Qing Dynasty Emperor ZIANLONG (1711 – 1799), over 400 craftsmen came to the capital of Beijing to decorate the Palaces and carve the lanterns.  Those woodcarving articles are still kept in GUGONG, the Imperial palace in Beijing.

After 1910, many carvers from DONGYANG gathered in Shanghai and Hangzhou to produce export-oriented furniture and utensils combining Chinese and Western styles.  Since the founding of the PRC, highly artistic frescoes and screens appeared on the market with the rapid development of technology.  These works, focussing on historical stories and folk legends were designed using the FULL CARVING technique, which formed a unique artistic style.

Dongyang wood carving

In 1957, a 19-metre-high wooden statue of SAKYAMUNI BUDDHA was sculpted for the main hall of LINGYIN TEMPLE in Hangzhou.  In 1983, DONGYANG City was named “the hometown of Chinese woodcarving” by the State Council.

The artistic forms of DONGYANG woodcarving, with distinct gradations and superb carving technology, are unique in the handicraft and art fields.  DONGYANG woodcarving, also called WHITE WOODCARVING (white is the natural colour of the wood) is second to none in terms of Chinese crafts.  In terms of techniques, DONGYANG woodcarving features a high relief, multi-layers and a rich composition of pictures, presenting the third-dimension, full yet in neat order.

Dongyang carving china

DONGYANG woodcarving emphasizes relief-skill, uses the traditional experience of a discreet bird’s-eye perspective of the structure, stresses round composition, considers dispersion and multiplicity without looseness or disorder.  Moreover,, it has other features  such as distinct gradations, obvious subject and expressive plots which often help to tell a larger story.

Dongyang carving on wood

DONGYANG woodcarving is mainly used to decorate houses and furniture with mainly realistic depictions of galloping horses, cranes, lotus flowers and human beings.  Nowadays, the assortment of DONGYANG woodcarving products amount to more than 2,700 varieties ———- most of which ———– covering 90% of the total output value ———- are daily wares such as cases, cabinets, stools, desks and tables.  They are exported to over 50 countries and regions, while involving thousands of craftsmen in that industry.

Dongyang wood carving process


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