Gansu gourd carver in action at expo

Ruan Lin's years of painstaking practice are evident in her demonstrations of an art that is still a niche culture outside Gansu Province.

When people talk about Gansu, the province of the glorious Mogao Caves, they often mention the silk road that flourished in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), its rich Buddhist culture or its famous beef noodles.

Ruan Lin brought another of the province's delights to the second China International Import Expo — the ingenious art of gourd carving.

Within five minutes, Jinbao, the expo mascot, is smiling and waving at people on a small gourd no larger than an egg.

Gansu gourd carver in action at expo
Ma Xuefeng / SHINE

Ruan Lin carves Jinbao, the expo mascot, on a small gourd.

Ruan is an inheritor of the province-level intangible cultural heritage. It might look easy when the tools are in Ruan’s hands, but the bruises and calluses tell the story of the painstaking practice behind her proficiency.

“Such microscopic carving sometimes takes months or even years to finish,” she said. “Gourd carving is still a niche culture outside Gansu.”

Gansu gourd carver in action at expo
Ma Xuefeng / SHINE

Ruan Lin, a master of the art of gourd carving, at work. 

Special Reports
Top