Woodcarving in China



China is a great advocate for sculptures and woodcarving. 

The history of woodcarving in China can be traced back to early Chinese civilization. Woodcarving art crafts first began in the primitive society. It is a monumental milestone for human beings to apply their intelligence to wood processing.

Using the knowledge of engraving and pottery craft intaglio, woodcraft made its first leap during the Warring States Period. Woodcraft improved through the Qin, Han, Tang and Song dynasties over a period of one thousand years and reached its peak of perfection of professionalism, intelligence and skills during the Ming and Qing dynasties that showcase the exquisite and classic culture of Asian art.  

Chinese woodcarving has spread throughout China. It is divided into many categories based on its origin, material and craft. The most famous carvings are Zhejiang Dongyang woodcarving, Zhejiang Huangyang wood carving,  Fujian Longyan wood carving and Guangdong Chaozhou woodcarving. They are also known as the four major types of woodcarving in China.

Chinese woodcarving is also divided according to the carving technique used such as circular carving, relief carving, transparent carving and such. Carving themes are mostly scenery, flowers, birds, fish and insects, folk stories or historical figures.

Practical carving is mainly used in architectural decorations and furniture. The most common woods used are hardwood such as Elmwood, Chinese oak, Qiou wood, red pine, basswood and fir. These exquisite wood carvings are beautiful, functional and showcase Chinese aesthetics.

Artistic ornamental carving are found on tables, shelves or showcases. These artworks collectively reflect the artist’s inspiration, original design, the beauty and value of the carving techniques.

Chinese woodcarving has injected new life into wood. They are considered “Art with a heart” that depict a picture of humans living harmoniously in nature. 

Chinese woodcarving is still vivid after thousands of years and will continue to convey feelings and stories for many years to come.

Translated by Chen Siting & Diana

Photograph by Xu Zhifu

Posted by Wang Peiwen