ALP – Meeting the Masters!

28 Jun

By Amanda Mak

This is already our seventh week in Zhejiang. It seems as though it wasn’t so long ago that our theme gathered together in ZJU for the very first time. I still remember what most of us shared during our brief introduction: we wanted to learn about the traditional Chinese culture and also, do some traditional crafts.

We’ve been having a great experience learning about the Chinese culture through plenty of museum trips (in and out of Hangzhou) and through little weekly assignments. But something was missing. All of us were craving for that special something on top of all these that we have been going through, and that is the opportunity to learn from the masters of traditional crafts (a.k.a. 大师). It’s been a pretty long wait indeed, for us to finally meet the masters last Saturday when they came down for a little induction ceremony.

We knew that our wishes would soon be realised when we made our way to the Arts & Crafts Museum, Hangzhou, on Tuesday. When we were first told that the museum is where (most of) our masters work at on a regular basis, all of our faces glowed with anticipation – we couldn’t wait to see their great works.

A double-sided embroidery of Xihu (front: coloured)

A double-sided embroidery of Xihu (front: coloured)

A double-sided embroidery of Xihu (back: monochrome)

A double-sided embroidery of Xihu (back: monochrome)

This museum trip felt slightly different from all the rest that we’ve had so far. It could have been due to the clearer explanations given during the guided tour, or because we’re more familiar with the traditional Chinese culture, that we were better able to appreciate most of the works on display. At the end of the guided tour, we were given the opportunity to stop by several masters’ workstations to catch a glimpse of their extraordinary skills. Some of us even had the opportunity to try out embroidery before we bade farewell.

Yi Qian picking up drawing techniques from the master

Yi Qian picking up drawing techniques from the master

Wood craving demonstration

Wood craving demonstration

Chin Yih’s attempt at embroidery

Chin Yih’s attempt at embroidery

Eileen’s attempt at embroidery

Eileen’s attempt at embroidery

Even though it was just a short afternoon spent at the masters’, the trip certainly renewed our passion and interest in Chinese culture and crafts. While we’ve been enjoying what we have been doing so far, we are definitely looking forward to the day we become the masters’ little apprentices. After all, it will be this rare opportunity to learn from the masters that will make this exchange uniquely Chinese to us. We can’t be more optimistic about lies ahead!

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