A world tour of Chinese arts and crafts

Issuing time:2022-12-25 13:54

During the Republican period, in order to save the country and survive, a wave of industrial salvation rose nationwide. The arts and crafts industry is no exception, and has initially opened up overseas markets, but has not formed a large scale.

After the founding of New China, everything was in ruins. Handicraft production played a pivotal role in the national economy at that time, so governments at all levels supported the arts and crafts industry.

In 1950, Beijing established the first professional company engaged in the export of traditional handicrafts, Beijing Special Craft Company (state-owned export professional company), which was born out of the old foreign company that resold handicrafts during the Republic of China. However, due to the US government's policy of blockade, embargo and encirclement of China at this time, the European and American markets of Chinese handicrafts have been greatly affected. During this period, arts and crafts products were mainly supplied to the needs of the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. Mr. Tian also pointed out that at this stage, a large number of arts and crafts products were exported and resold through Hong Kong and Macao.

In 1956, China implemented the socialist transformation of public-private partnership, which was the first turning point in the development of handicraft exports. Mr. Tian said that during this period, the arts and crafts industry gradually transformed from small and scattered workshops and factories to modern enterprises with intensive production. The export of arts and crafts has been further expanded, and it has spontaneously condensed from the people to export exchange under the will of the state.

Subsequently, at the beginning of the "Decade of the Cultural Revolution", under the influence of the extreme leftist trend of thought, traditional decorative themes such as "Emperor General", "Talented and Beautiful", "Cow, Ghost, Snake and God" were regarded as "sealing, capital, and repair" and could not be used, replaced by red themes such as "Shajiabang", which greatly affected the export of traditional handicrafts. However, exports have not completely stopped, in the 70s of the 20th century, under the appeal of industry insiders and relevant parties, in order to meet the needs of exports, the production of some traditional theme products was approved to resume. Mr. Nakata also mentioned that he had heard from masters that merchants who went to China to buy handicrafts were also required to memorize Chairman Mao's quotations.

The establishment of formal diplomatic relations between China and the United States on January 1, 1979 meant that the Chinese market was finally opened to capitalist countries led by the United States. Since then, the United States, Japan and European countries have become major exporters of Chinese arts and crafts. The main imported and favored Chinese handicrafts from Britain, France, Belgium and other European countries include: gold-lacquered inlaid Chinese traditional furniture, porcelain, all kinds of enamelware, as well as tablecloths, cushions and other practical yarn products, as well as antique porcelain and embroidery. The U.S. market prefers similar categories of crafts to Europe, but the U.S. market is more inclined to larger and relatively simple products, and its quality requirements are lower than those of the European market. This is directly related to Americans' aesthetic preferences, purchase uses, and consumption habits. The Japanese market is also a major exporter of Chinese crafts, and its culture is connected to China, so the Japanese market has the highest degree of specialization. The most ordered items were stationery, such as the red acid branch ruler, cloisonné ink bed, calligraphy and painting pictures, etc., which were all popular product categories in the Japanese market that year. Secondly, there are also materials, stone carvings, filigree, carpets, etc., and the variety involved is relatively rich.

In order to cater to overseas markets, China's arts and crafts industry has also made unremitting exploration and efforts. According to the living habits and aesthetic preferences of people in different countries, domestic arts and crafts design continues to innovate. Especially in terms of instrument type, a large number of practical products such as cloisonné rulers, pens, thermometers, and ashtrays appeared during this period. In terms of ornamentation, because overseas markets prefer decorative patterns with traditional Chinese charm, there is less innovation for overseas markets. Samples are issued in European overseas markets, and domestic sample processing occasionally occurs.

Maida Yiheng
Import and Export Co., LTD.
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