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Gao Yuwen: A committed carver on leather wares
Yunnan Gateway 2020-03-03 10:20:41


In the Gao's Leather Carving Workshop, which is located on Fengzhu Street in Kunming, artist Gao Yuwen was focusing on his creation. Tapping the cowhide gently and wielding his needle and thread, Gao gave birth to fine patterns on leather items.

Born in east Yunnan’s Qujing City, Gao Yuwen used to work for Xuanwei Power Plant when young. Longing for an easy and free life, Gao left the power plant and started a clothing business with his senior brother. In 1999, Gao took up leather carving, which attracted him so much that he embarked on a life of art.

Leather carving is a traditional craft where patterns are carved on leather products for a decorative effect. By constant engraving and tapping, patterns of animals, people, and landscapes are rendered on hard leather, and leather wares are thus enlivened.

Since he took up leather carving, Gao Yuwen has been committed, visiting Beijing specially for the art. Thanks to his experience as a fitter in the power plant, Gao is dexterous and he progressed quickly in the craft.

Gao Yuwen only carves on cowhide. "Cowhide has a fine texture, and it is soft, plastic and cowhide,” said Gao. Once a cowhide piece is chosen, Gao will carefully observes its density in texture, pondering on stitching, inking, coloring and more. The delicate steps make his carvings invaluable.


Gao's patterns include Chinese and Western styles, but he personally prefers the traditional Chinese subjects, mostly based on history and legends. "I created this many years ago, and it took me half a year." Gao said, pointing to a pair of leather-carved door gods in the workshop. The pair looks vivid, featuring tasty clothes, shoes, and decorations.

At the suggestion of doing something easier to save time and effort, Gao said it is meaningless for him to do ordinary ones and he pursues uniqueness and customisation. In the past two decades, Gao Yuwen has created tens of thousands of leather wares, but none of them is a duplicate.


Immersed long in leather carving, Gao Yuwen has become shortsighted, and now he needs a thick lens to see properly. However, he persisted on it. " I’m carver, so I’ll stick to the art till my sight is lost without trace." Gao said movingly.

Reporting by Zhang Lin and Meng Zhigang; trans-editing by Wang Shixue; online photos


 
 
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