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Traditional handicraft shines through decades


02-09-2017 10:01 BJT

Full coverage: Culture of Chinese New Year

There are just three days to go till the Lantern Festival, which falls on the first full-moon day of the Chinese lunar year. Modern LED lights may be the new darlings of the street and skyline, but they can never replace traditional lanterns in presenting the genuine flavor of the Spring Festival. Among the various styles and sizes, the Rabbit lantern has many loyal fans. An elderly man in Zhejiang province is one of the few who knows how to make a rabbit lantern using just a pair of hands.

Wang Chenghao's home is a small world of lanterns, and these colorful sources of light are all works of his hands. The 71-year-old has a decades-long passion for making lanterns. The white rabbit lantern, in particular, wins much of his heart and is what he's never tired of talking about.

"There are at least 22 tiers in the structure of the rabbit head. Bind them together with two tiers for one circle. Then make it really round. Making the head is the key step. If it's not fixed well, the whole thing will not be balanced," Wang said.

Chopping the bamboo wattles, sanding the wood, cutting the paper and pasting, Wang Chenghao does every step strictly following the traditional way. He said that it takes two to three hours to complete one rabbit lantern.

Wang also told the reporter that his affection towards this folk craftsmanship started more than 30 years ago, when he found that his then-five-year-old son loved this kind of buddy lantern very much.   

"It's mainly out of my interest, and has become a hobby. It's how I'd like to spend my leisure time after retirement. The lanterns I made last year were soon sold out  and this year I decided to make a few more," Wang said.

To greet the Year of the Rooster, Wang has also made some rooster lanterns. Nowadays, he is often invited to teach this folk art to younger generations. He hopes that for every lantern festival to come, there will be white rabbit lanterns shining in the dazzling modern nights.

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