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Eggshell engraver carves 'Double 11' themed eggs

  • Author:Nancy
  • Release on:2019-10-28

  Eggshell engraver carves 'Double 11' themed eggs

A row of engraved eggshells are on display in the Workmanship Demonstration Pavilion, in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province. Visitors are attracted by the various patterns and vivid styles but seldom pay attention to their creator, a middle-aged man sitting by the booth. He is Dong Yiyan, who began his 16-year career as a professional eggshell carver in 2003. He describes himself as a "dancer at the point of knives".

The traditional, 10-step handicraft involves using knives to scrape the surface of a delicate eggshell to create pictures. Egg selection, picture composition and carving techniques result in a finished decorated eggshell. It takes from several days to months to finish an eggshell carving, depending on the pattern and style used.

Art comes from life, so sometimes, Dong will go to the Gongchen Bridge near the demonstration pavilion with an egg and a pen to paint scenes he observes onto an eggshell.

Most people who visit the pavilion are usually drawn by Dong's art pieces, and some pose for pictures that are carved on the eggshells for fun.

Dong said young people buy most of his eggshell carvings and he knows the finished pieces must have some youthful elements. Besides traditional festive patterns, he began to carve designs to celebrate new festivals, such as the Nov 11 shopping frenzy nicknamed "Double 11".

Income for an eggshell engraver like Dong Yiyan is low and unstable, with only several hundred yuan a month on the low end, which doesn't go far in making ends meet.

But Dong thinks eggshell carving has a potential market but lacks access. Many young people don't know where to buy an eggshell carving or where to learn the craft. Visitors in the pavilion usually don't have the time or the desire to study it. One young person from East China's Jiangxi province spent a year looking for Dong, and even found a job in Hangzhou, aiming to learn eggshell carving.

Dong plans to display his artwork on the internet, and open training courses in the hope of raising awareness among the public. He said there are at most 100 professional eggshell engravers in China and he doesn't want the old handicraft to vanish.