Distinctive craftworks in Guangzhou can be summarized as “Three Carvings, One Embroidery and One Enamel“. “Three carvings” refers to jade carving, ivory carving and wood carving; “one embroidery” refers to Canton-style embroidery; and “one enamel” means Guangzhou enamel. Each handicraft represents a piece of history and is an object of exquisite workmanship. Moreover, Guangzhou’s handicraft gifts are an integration of modernity and tradition, featuring high technological and aesthetic standards.
In China, jade is highly prized and jade objects are considered to be auspicious and effective in expelling evil spirits. Guangzhou jade carving dates back more than 1,000 years. The major raw materials for Guangzhou jade carving mainly come from Xinyi County in Guangdong. The jade manufactured in Xinyi is known as “South Jade”. The carving technologies mainly include cutting, grinding, milling and drilling. The works are characterized by elegant designs, fine carving technologies, subtle colors and extensive categories.
With a history of over 2,000 years, Guangzhou ivory carving is one of China’s first national intangible cultural heritages. Guangzhou ivory carving focuses on the carving technologies, and is well-known for the technologies of hollowing cutting and deep penetration. The most prestigious works are hollow-carved multiple-layered ivory balls, boats, snuff bottles, and vases.
Chaozhou is located in the easternmost part of Guangdong Province. Chaozhou wood carving is one of four famous Chinese wood carvings, together Dongyang wood carving and Leqing wood carving in Zhejiang Province, and Fujian wood carving. Chaozhou wood carving began in the Tang Dynasty. Its main achievement lies in gold and lacquer wood carving. The works are characterized by suitable density, hollow-cutting, and golden appearance.
Foshan is located in central Guangdong Province. Foshan wood carving developed vigorously during late Qing Dynasty and the early years of the Republic of China. The works are characterized by swift and brief technologies, vivid images and outstanding charm.
Guangdong Embroidery (Guang Embroidery or Yue Embroidery)
Guangdong Embroidery (also called Guang Embroidery or Yue Embroidery) is one of China’s four famous styles of embroidery, together with Shu Embroidery of Sichuan, Su Embroidery of Jiangsu and Xiang Embroidery of Hunan. Yue embroidery is famous for its dazzling color and subtle needle work. The lifelike works are all delicate with a strong 3D effect. And most of the embroiderers are male, which is rarely seen.
Guangzhou enamel refers to the art of colored ceramic glaze in the Guangzhou region and is also known as “Guangzhou Golden Colored Enamel”. With a history of more than 300 years, Guangzhou enamel was once a major export commodity in the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911). Kings of France, Louis XIV and Louis XV, both sent envoys to Guangzhou to place orders for Guangzhou enamel. In addition, Guangzhou enamel is also a “frequenter” of museums at home and abroad.