Fuxin Agate Carving 阜新玛瑙雕

Time: 2006
Category: Folk Art
Region: Liaoning Province
Ref. No.: VII-30
Nominating unit[s]: Fuxin City, Liaoning Province
Fuxin City,Liaoning Province is one of the four major agate production areas in China, and its agate carving craft enjoys a worldwide reputation. Objects like lotus-style cups, tubular agate bead necklaces, wine cups, Chinese chesses excavated from Qinghemen Tomb of the Liao Dynasty in Fuxin City can date back 1000 years. During the reign of Qianlong Emperor in the Qing Dynasty, the materials and techniques of agate jewelries and carvings for imperial use mainly came from Fuxin City. Baozhu Yingzi (means jewellery) Village (Qijiazi Town, Fuxin Mongolian Autonomous County) bears its current name which was given by Qianlong Emperor for the "agate necklace with Buddha’s light" the local prince thereof presented in honor of Qianlong Emperor’s 60th birthday.
As medium gems, agates, which come in various natural colors and strip patterns, are one of the ideal materials for carving. Agate is also renowned as "jade gold", and the material itself is worth collecting for inflation proof and value increase. Also, it is regarded as the symbol of beauty, happiness, luckiness and fortune. A fine agate ware will go through seven processes, i.e. selecting materials, peeling, design, polishing, initial carving, fine carving and mating base. Fuxin agate carving has complete categories, among which imitative carving craft takes a leading position in the trade. Its unique techniques include drilling & boring, chain ring hollowing, lug making, ball openwork, and decorative carving.Fuxin agate-made Water Curtain Cave (or Shui Lian Dong), carved upon the instruction of Premier Zhou Enlai in 1974, is now collected in the National Museum of China.
Fuxin agate carving craft has been for the most part carried on by way of family inheritance. The prestigious agate families in history have passed this craft down to their respective fourth generation. Li Hongbin, a master of agate imitative carving, is 67 years old now. Despite its glorious achievements, Fuxin agate carving craft is on the brink of extinction, and the rescue and preservation of it are urgently required.

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