On the right side of the gate of the memorial arch of Mianzhu Antique Street, there is a shop with a large sign in black and gold characters, with three large characters “Zhang Carver” written on it. The boss’s name is Zhang Shibin, and I have known him for many years.
In July 2008, wood carvings were included in the second batch of national intangible cultural heritage list. Sichuan wood carvings are unique. Sichuan is rich in all kinds of high-quality wood, and there are many skilled craftsmen. Zhang Shibin’s earliest signboard was called “Nan Yixuan”, which was later changed to “Zhang Carver”. Zhang Shibin is a native of Huangjue Village, Heqing Town, Anxian County, Sichuan, born in 1968. Since childhood, he liked to paint and was skilful, because his family studied very little in the countryside, and returned to his family to farm after graduating from junior high school. His father saw that he was okay with drawing, so he asked Guo Shaogui, a local carver, to teach him how to learn wood carving.
The two are neighbors. This Master Guo was reluctant to teach Zhang Shibin at first, for fear that he would not endure hardships and would not be able to learn without understanding. In 1987, Master Guo finally agreed to accept Zhang Shibin as an apprentice. Guo Shaogui was born in 1930 and studied wood carving with Zhou Wenshu in 1952. This week, Master Wenshu is also a craft passed down from generation to generation. So far, these three generations of masters and apprentices have been engaged in wood carving for more than 100 years.
Because Zhang Shibin has a foundation in painting, he learns very quickly and is deeply liked by Master Guo. Master Guo is good at carving dragons and phoenixes, but not very good at character carving. Zhang Shibin quickly mastered the various techniques and techniques of wood carving, and in only half a year’s work, he could make everything taught by Master Guo independently.
Under the environment and conditions at that time, there were not many private jobs, and almost all of them were contracted outside. Zhang Shibin learned while doing, and learned from Hanchang Huang Mingxue in Anxian County. Huang Mingxue’s character carving is very skillful. Under the guidance of Master Huang, Zhang Shibin’s character carving has made great progress. Huang Mingxue is now in his 60s and opened a store in Chengdu Xianqiao Antique Market.
Deyang Stone Carving Park
When the Deyang Stone Carving Park was built, Zhang Shibin led his brothers and apprentices to carve the doors and windows of the art wall here. The wooden doors and windows of the art wall in the current stone carved park were made at that time, and were widely praised by Chinese and foreign tourists. At that time, Wang Xingquan, a famous master of arts and crafts and writer in Sichuan Province, was looking for strange people and people everywhere, creating a large-scale mythical wooden relief “Legend of the Ancestors”.
Wang Xingquan, born in 1930, a native of Chengdu City, was obsessed with origin mythology all his life, and resigned as the director of the Chengdu Institute of Arts and Crafts in order to create the large-scale mythological wood relief “The Legend of the Ancestors”.
By chance, Wang Xingquan knew about the doors and windows of the art wall of Deyang City Stone Carving Park carved by Zhang Shibin, and found Zhang Shibin and asked him to engage in large-scale wooden reliefs “Legends of Ancestors”. Zhang Shibin immediately agreed. From 1989 to 1998, Wang Xingquan started from the basic skills of painting, including human anatomy, proportions, human bones, etc., which made Zhang Shibin get a comprehensive sublimation from theory, which undoubtedly laid a solid foundation for future creation.
“Legend of the Ancestors” selected wood reliefs
However, Wang Xingquan still refused to recognize Zhang Shibin as his student, and instructed him not to tell the outside world that he was Wang Xingquan’s student. In the sixth year, Wang Xingquan saw that Zhang Shibin had high understanding, strong comprehension, and good craftsmanship, and was very satisfied with his intentions and creativity, and officially recognized this student.
In nine years, Zhang Shibin led a group of apprentices to completely follow Wang Xingquan’s design from “Dayu Governing Water” to “Foolishness Moves Mountains”, a total of 45 mythological stories and 91 wooden reliefs, each 1.50×1.35 meters. Zhang Shibin did not live up to the teacher’s hopes.
From June to November 1999, this group of wood reliefs was exhibited at the National Art Museum of China. An American waited from morning to night and asked for “Jingwei reclamation” and offered $8,000.
Wang Xingquan was indifferent to fame and fortune all his life and did not sell anyone, but he was moved by this American spirit of loving traditional Chinese culture and decided to give it to this American friend. Wang Xingquan’s novella “White Horse” was published in October magazine, won the National Novella Excellence Award, and was adapted into the movie “White Horse Feifei”, which was widely acclaimed. In 2000, the large-scale wood-relief painting collection “The Legend of the Ancestors” was published, and Wang Xingquan personally signed and presented Zhang Shibin with this album, which condensed the efforts of two generations of master and apprentice.
Part of the “Qingming Upper River Map”
In 2002, Zhang Shibin went to Mianzhu to open a store and named it “Nan Yixuan”. After the experience of the art wall doors and windows of Deyang Stone Carving Park and the large-scale wooden relief “Legend of the Ancestors”, Zhang Shibin is full of confidence in engaging in wood carving art. After arriving in Mianzhu, he mainly undertook the restoration and production of a group of antique collectors’ collections, including carved doors and windows, tables and chairs, divine cases, stationery supplies, hanging screens, ornaments, etc. In the past two decades, the road to life has not been completed, and it is rare to rest a day from morning to night.
In 2003, a Tibetan friend in Deyang asked him to carve and make a “map of the upper river in the Qingming Dynasty.” After he took it, while completing the works of other guests, he worked with his apprentices and invited masters to make this map of the Qingming Upper River. A total of six plates were carved, all double-sided, each board is 1.5×1.2 meters, the total length is 16.8 meters, a total of more than 800 figures, more than 20 cattle and horses, more than 30 houses, more than 20 boats. Completing this kind of work requires not only technique, but also patience.
Part of the picture book “Qingming Shanghe Tu”
First copy and depict, then wool, shape, polish, polish, not sloppy at all, all handmade. After nine years of hard work, this masterpiece was completed. In 2013, it was reported in the media. This wood carving “Qingming Upper River Map” has broken the Guinness record in length. Due to the successful production of “Qingming Shanghe Tu”, Zhang Shibin and Zhang Carver’s fame has become very famous in Mianzhu, Deyang and Chengdu.
After the devastating earthquake on May 12, 2008, the people of the whole country, especially Jiangsu Province, assisted the construction of Mianzhu, and in just two or three years, the urban and rural construction of Mianzhu was completely renewed. Many units asked Zhang carvers to carve Mianzhu New Year paintings on wooden boards and give them to the most distinguished guests as a sign of affection. After the earthquake, there were many old furniture and cultural relics that were damaged, and the restoration work could not be won, but for the gratitude of the people of Mianzhu, Zhang Shibin’s family and apprentices worked overtime day and night, completed the task with quality and quantity, won praise from the society, and made their own efforts and contributions to earthquake relief.
Works by Zhang Shibin
Now walking to the antique street “Zhang Carver” store, you can also see the completed “Baucer Map” and “God of Wealth” and other large-scale character carvings, Zhang Shibin also continues to undertake high-end souvenirs and practical items in tourist areas and attractions, even if it is a wooden comb, he is meticulously carved, meticulous, no matter how small the works are taken seriously.
Zhang Shibin at work
Zhang Shibin is over fifty years old, and his apprentices can operate and operate independently. But what he is worried about is that this issue of intangible cultural heritage inheritance will be easy to carve, innovative, artistic, and able to innovate with the progress of the times, which is not easy. In addition, in real society, people do not attach importance to traditional crafts, thinking that they cannot earn money, no one can calm down to learn, and they are unwilling to endure hardships. , there must be a group of talents who are willing to stay poor and calm down for the art, so that this skill will not be lost and carried forward. (Yin Kuncai/Text)
Part of the picture book “Qingming Shanghe Tu”