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Chinese Arts and Crafts

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China has as wide variety of arts and crafts with exquisite workmanship.  They can be classified into special folk types.  Special arts and crafts, such as ivory carving, jade carving and Shousan stone carving use precious or special materials, and undergo elaborate designing and processing.  They are elegant and expensive.

In technique, Chinese folk arts fall into the categories of cutting, bundling, plaiting, knitting, embroidering, carving, molding and painting.  Cutting includes paper cuts, paper engravings, 
paper cut silhouettes, paper folding, paper sculpture, and leather-silhouettes, all of which evolved from paper cuts.  Bundling includes kites and colored lanterns bundled up with paper, silk or bamboo.  Plaiting, a popular folk art, includes various straw or thread plaited articles.

The products include cloth tigers, cool pillows, cushions, tiny fragrant bags, colored silk balls, shoe-pads, and velvet flowers and birds.  Knitting, including wax printing, bandhnu, color printing, drawn work and flower knitting, is created by weaving, knitting or stitching.  Embroidering includes picture weaving in silk, printing and dyeing.

China's four famous styles of embroidery are those of Suzhou, Hunan, Guangdon and Sichuan.  Carving includes art depictions of various shapes, such as masks, puppet heads, figures, animals and flowers, which are created with bamboo, wood, jade or horn.  Molding includes dough modeling, clay sculpture, frozen butter sculpture and pottery sculpture.  The products serve not only as ornaments, but also as children's toys.  Painting involves such techniques as hand painting, incision, patchwork, and pyrograph, each having a style of its own.

China is the home of chinaware, porcelain being produced in both the south and north.  Famous porcelain-making centers are Jindezhen in Jiangxi Province and Liling in Hunan Province in the south and Tangshan and Handan in Hebei Province and Zibo in Shandong Province.  The long-lost techniques of the celebrated ancient porcelain kilns such as Longquan, Jun, Ru, Guan, Cizhou and Yaozhou have now been recovered, "like old trees putting forth new blossoms" as the saying goes.  The purplish brown sandy potteries of Yixing, the noted pottery center in Jiangsu Province, are much sought after for their classic elegance and splendid luster.  

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