Modern live streaming helps revitalize traditions

Updated 2017-10-02 11:30:52 Xinhua

Live streaming does not always mean beauty, fashion and dancing, it can revitalize traditions.

He Shengwang, 37, of north China's Hebei Province has become an celebrity gourd engraver.

Almost every day, He broadcasts live as he etches a picture on a gourd. Under a smartphone on a holder, he uses an electric 'burning pen," similar to a soldering iron, to draw flowers, trees and humans onto a the gourd.

"With the streaming, more and more young people will appreciate my skills and develop and interest in engraving gourds," he says.

He, a painter and calligrapher in Jizhou District of Hengshui City, started learning engraving in 2000.

Among his works over the past 17 years, the one that he is proud of the most is Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival, a masterpiece by Zhang Zeduan made during the Northern Song Dynasty (960 to 1127 A.D.), which was burned on a 40-cm gourd.

"I divided the gourd into three layers, and separated it into 12 parts to finish it," he says, adding the works took him three years to finish.

Gourd, "hulu" in Chinese, sounds like "good fortune and wealth," and is therefore a traditional favorite of the Chinese. Gourd engraving is on the verge of extinction due to a shrinking market and few young inheritors.

He has thousands of online followers. During his broadcasts, He tells his viewers the secrets of engraving and often receives virtual gifts that can be converted to cash. He also has a chat group on WeChat for anyone interested.

"Now I've got two engraving students with a dozen others learning calligraphy and painting," he says.

"Now that I've gained a little fame, many of my fans have bought my works," he says, without disclosing how many pieces have been sold.

He now plans to start an online classroom to further spread the word.

"I hope more people will learn my art," he says.

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