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Yucheng Deyuan Charcoal Carving, an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Shandong Province

Artwork: Yu the Great Who Tamed Floods

Yucheng, named after Yu the Great who succeeded in flood taming, is the birthplace of Chinese farming civilization and one of China’s 100 millennia-old ancient counties. Steeped in history, the four-thousand-plus-year old city of Yucheng is home to countless local myths and tales of Yu the Great’s taming of floods. In 2021, the legend of Yu the Great Who Tamed the Floods was included in the fifth batch of intangible cultural heritage in Shandong Province.

As a handicraft of Yucheng, Shandong, Deyuan charcoal carving is a harmonious mix of the traditional art of carving and painting with the intangible cultural heritage of the legend of Yu the Great Who Tamed the Floods. These works materialize folklore into charcoal carvings, turn audible folklore into visual arts for reflection, and bring the culture of Dayu (Yu the Great) to life. It embodies the success of the creative translation and innovative development of fine traditional Chinese culture in the new era.

Despite of small size, the charcoal carving conveys a profound message. It is made of high-quality coconut shell carbon, mineral carbon and other powdered activated carbon through over ten procedures from high-pressure forming, activation, carving, polishing to drawing, etc. Designed with simple and natural colors, the small-sized charcoal carving artworks mostly draw on traditional Chinese cultural themes such as Confucius, Yu the Great, “five cows”, “eight horses”, plum blossoms, orchids, bamboos and chrysanthemums, and Peking Opera masks, to highlight the 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.

Since 2009, Deyuan Charcoal Carving has been put on exhibition at over a dozen major domestic and international cultural industry expos such as those in Beijing, Shenzhen, Xi’an, Nanjing and Jinan, as well as South Korea, making substantial contributions to the communication of the culture of Dayu (Yu the Great).

Source: Information Office of Yucheng People’s Government