The unique “ crockery mending” craftsmanship has passed down for 6 generations
Web Editor:International Daily
Chen Family Crockery Mending Craftsmanship has selected Qingdao intangible cultural heritage with the passage of 6 generations
“I have a diamond cutter and can professionally mend porcelain wares.” In a shop named “Ju Gong Fang” (Crockery Mending Workshop) in the antique market located on the 15th Street, District Shibei, Qingdao, Chen Dalei, a craftsman, uses this slogan with confidence to advertise for his shop. He has attained the crockery mending craft to perfection. But what makes him more proud is that his family has passed this craftsmanship down to the 6th generation. Nowadays the Chen Family Crockery Mending Craftsmanship has become part of the Qingdao intangible cultural heritage.
A kind of craftsmanship has been passed down for 6 generations
The crockery mending craftsmanship is a unique method invented by ancient Chinese working people to mend utensils and has a history of thousands of years. The crockery mending is a kind of craft for specially mending catering utensils including pans, bowls, pots, kettles, and urns. It is done by forging metal materials over a stove fire into thin nails with a hook on two ends and then use a diamond cutter to drill holes. Use rivets to mend crackles on the surface of utensils to make it airtight and durable. After development and evolving, the crockery mending craftsmanship has transcended beyond the simple function of mending damages, but has created a unique beauty of mending flaws and filling up vacancies and become a delightful art.
According to Chen Dalei, Chen Family Crockery Mending Craftsmanship can date back to the reign of Qianlong Emperor, Qing Dynasty and has been passed down to the 6th generation. Chen Yonggui, the inheritor of the first generation, worked in the palace as a repairer, mastered proficient skills by mending funny wares for the aristocracy and handed down the craft to his son Chen Fulai. In late Qing Dynasty, Chen Fulai adopted Chen Xiliang and passed the craftsmanship to him. Chen Xiliang passed down the craftsmanship to his youngest son Chen Shuan as a precious gift. From then on, the family inheritance began and lasts until now.
Went all the way to Singapore to learn the “essence”
It is the 5th generation when Chen Family Crockery Mending Craftsmanship passes down to Chen Dalei. According to Chen Dalei, at a very young age he was affected and instructed his grandfather and father and liked drilling and hammering very much. To further improve his techniques, he has successively visited many famous menders in China. “Crockery mending craftsmen need observation ability, skill and force. Crockery mending is a labor-consuming work, sometimes also entails a lot of dexterity. There are two kinds of crockery mending work. One is the very labor-consuming work to mend pots, bowls, vats and kettles, and the other is the fine and delicate work to mend articles for amusement and porcelains. Chen Dalei said emotionally that it was impossible to have an expert like Chen Dalei who can mend delicate work without the experience of doing labor-consuming work when learning the skill with his father and digesting a lot of folk wisdom.
For him to carry forward and develop the Chen Family Crockery Mending Craftsmanship, Chen Dalei went all the way to Singapore to learn the craftsmanship from an old master. To the gratification of Chen Dalei, the old Singaporean master had all-around skills. Touched by his sincerity to acquire new knowledge from thousands of miles away, the master has taught him everything, offered him many new techniques he hadn’t acquired before and opened a new door for him to rediscover crockery mending as a kind of traditional craftsmanship.
Chen Family Crockery Mending Craftsmanship has become Qingdao intangible cultural heritage
Because Chen Dalei is skillful in all aspects of crockery mending, especially his unique talent in pots and interior mending, he slowly gained fame in the circle, and more and more people come to him to admire his wares, even from Beijing and Shenyang. The workshop of Chen Dalei moved from his home to the antique market on the 15th Street. He often starts working at 6 am and ends at 12 pm. With the words of Chen Dalei, sitting all the day mending crockery is a big test for patience.
Every Saturday and Sunday, Chen Dalei appears in the antique fair on Street Wenhua, Road Changle. In the corner of the entrance to the antique fair, items recently mended by Chen Dalei are placed onto a little square table including a black blue teapot, one side of which has a little silver frog and the other side of which is inlaid with a piece of lotus leaf and implying the poetic context of moonlight over the lotus pond and frog croaking; a cracked plate and silver lines decorated along the cracks look like a big tree’s branches soaring into the sky, a strong artistic atmosphere can be shown in the sense of vicissitudes. All these delicate items can always stop the feet of the passing treasure hunters.
Influenced by Chen Dalei, his wife and son have a keen interest in crockery mending craftsmanship. His wife is his most helpful assistant and his 14-year-old son Chen Jiahao can mend crockery independently. Chen Dalei has inherited the time-honored craftsmanship from his ancestors, absorbed, carried forward and developed Chinese and foreign techniques. His pursuit for perfect craftsmanship wins respect and recognition from collectors at home and abroad. Currently the Chen Family Crockery Mending Craftsmanship created by Chen Dalei with various techniques has selected as Qingdao intangible cultural heritage. Zhou Jie
(1. Che Dalei on the left took his son to learn the craftsmanship from his father.