Art And Culture

Hong Kong mahjong carver amongst the final of his type


Eyebrows furrowed in very careful focus as he chisels illustrations or photos and Chinese figures onto mahjong tiles, 70-yr-old Cheung Shun-king is a person of the very last craftsmen of his type in Hong Kong. Hand carving participating in tiles for the popular Chinese sport used to be a source of revenue for quite a few, but the introduction of a great deal less costly device-manufactured sets whittled away at their client base and turned their perform into a rarity.

Cheung’s household by itself made use of to personal 4 different retailers, wherever as a teen he acquired his trade.

Now only one particular remains.

“I have given my youth to it,” he states of his function. “I will not know if I am going to have the vitality to have on in a several a long time, but for now, I am going to keep on to do it.”

Cheung’s retail outlet is on a street lined with mahjong parlours, but none of them purchase their tiles from him.

“My mahjong sets are pricey,” he admits.

A total established of hand-carved tiles expenses HK$5,500 (US$700), he claims, whereas machine-carved kinds are all-around HK$2,000.

The value displays the time used producing them.

Industrial production of tiles can take about an hour, but it requires five days for Cheung to finish the method of carving and colouring his tiles.

Many of his prospects buy sets as souvenirs and normally request customised photographs.

But Cheung thinks this recent surge in fascination in an aged custom may well be ephemeral.

“It is only in these last couple yrs that men and women have felt a perception of nostalgia” and appear to invest in his tiles, he suggests.

“What if a couple of decades later no a single feels nostalgia?”

Regardless of his belief that his sector will proceed to decline, Cheung states he will function for as very long as he can, right up until there is no need.

He made use of to perform workshops for youthful individuals but does not want to acquire on apprentices because of his pessimism.

“To discover (this talent) just isn’t a matter of a single or two months — trying it wouldn’t operate if you failed to immerse your self in it for two to 3 years,” Cheung suggests.

“If, by then, handcrafted mahjong tiles are no much more a pattern, then this talent would turn out to be ineffective.”

Cheung does not know how to play mahjong himself — his fascination lies only in crafting the tiles.

He says that being identified as an artist, nevertheless, is flattering, and a “large compliment” for him.

“If some others say it is art, then it is art. For me, it is my task, as I have to make a dwelling.”

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This story has been published from a wire company feed devoid of modifications to the textual content. Only the headline has been transformed.

Bettina Cabana is a web designer and a freelance fashion blogger. She loves to write about the latest trends, women's fashion, and a lot more in the industry. Bettina has been working for multiple clients in the past many years. She likes to explore new places, cultures, and cook in her free time.

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