Fri, 19 Aug 2022

SYDNEY, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- A documentary titled "Magical Craftsmanship of Suzhou" rolled out across theaters in Australia's Sydney and Melbourne at the weekend, giving locals an up-close look at how ancient handicrafts continue to color modern Chinese life.

The film, presented by director Sun Zengtian, explored iconic handicrafts through the eyes of 12 veterans in Suzhou in east China's Jiangsu Province.

"Through the entanglement of art and people, we revealed the core of the craftsman's spirit -- open and inclusive, meticulous dedication, self-cultivation, respect for nature and people, and eternal innovation," said Sun.

From detailed silk Song brocades, furniture from the Ming dynasty, and intricate jade carvings, the film explored how ancient tradition has continued to occupy a central role in modern-day Chinese culture.

One of the masters, Wang Xiaowen, began his journey as a lantern maker at just 10 years of age. At the age of 75, Wang's story told by the documentary explored how only through a lifetime of dedication could the art be truly realized.

"There are only two types of lanterns, those you make for the world, and those you make for yourself. The latter will always have a place in your heart," said Wang, evidencing the driving force of passion behind his work.

The movie also explored the conflict artisans faced in the modern world where productivity and mass production edge out "dated" practices.

Caitlin Nugent, a 26-year-old teacher from Sydney's west, was in attendance at one of the documentary's showcase screenings. She told Xinhua on Sunday that she was most drawn in by the process behind silk brocades.

"The silk weaving and just relating that to engineering and the mathematics behind the patterns that they're weaving through was really interesting," she said.

Having never been to China, she said the movie added kindling to her dream to one day make the trip.

Also in attendance was Sydney-based writer Peter Hannam. He told Xinhua the film gave insight into the importance of passing traditional skills from generation to generation.

"So it seems like there's a kind of a narrow window to keep those skills vibrant, and passed on, and to continue to recruit future (generations)."

In 2014, Suzhou was acknowledged as a UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art in recognition of its continued contribution and revitalization of ancient art practices.

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