Known as "Master Lu," China's international woodcarving master Lu Guang Zheng is planning to open an exhibition in Istanbul next year, featuring the works of the world-renowned, 73-year-old woodcarving master of China's southeastern city of Dongyang, who has dedicated 60 years of his life to the traditional Chinese art of woodcarving.
Traditional woodcarvings unique to the city of Dongyang, which have been around since the 7th century, are made by an intricate form of craftsmanship that involves intricate wood carving techniques which require an incredible amount of time and dedication to complete. The woodcarving tradition that is unique to Dongyang, also known as "white woodcarving, involves specific carving techniques and the formation of neat, multiple layers on the wood which give the appearance of three-dimensional, mural-like creations. The Chinese people consider Master Lu to be a living legend and, in recent years, his team took on an important role in a project for the opening of China's first woodcarving museum.
The China Woodcarvings Museum opened in Dongyang in 2014 and displays the diverse, marvelous examples of the Chinese art of woodcarving. Divided into five theme-based exhibition halls, the museum is comprised of the Chinese Woodcarving History Exhibition Hall, the Woodcarving and Social Life Exhibition Hall, the Master Exhibition Hall, the World Woodcarving Exhibition Hall and the Chinese Bamboo Crafts Exhibition Hall. This professional-grade museum is prominent for its successful depiction of the art of Chinese woodcarving and its comprehensive display of history and culture. The museum was constructed on an area of 26,000 square meters and the exhibition halls sit on a 10,000-square-meter area.
According to Chinese officials, the museum's mission is not only to show the extraordinary style of contemporary woodcarving masters but to also honor the ancient sages who worked hard over thousands of years, with no aims of making names for themselves while making great contributions to the high quality of the art of Chinese woodcarving, its history and its culture.
Throughout his life, Master Lu has created thousands of art pieces, and is now looking forward to exhibitions that will display his works for Turkish and European art lovers in Istanbul. "The Chinese Ministry of Culture is currently arranging a series of exhibitions in various European cities; from Moscow to Istanbul and Rome for next year, as part of China's One Belt One Road [OBOR] initiative," Master Lu told a group of Turkish journalist who visited his studio in Dongyang on Sept. 26 during a tour organized by China Radio International (CRI). Master Lu said, "As far I know, the specific dates for the exhibition have not been set yet but it is expected to take place during the first half of next year," adding that he is really looking forward to the exhibitions. "Turkish culture is so rich and historical," he said, adding: "The art of Turkish woodcarving, on the other hand, also offers very astonishing examples of the craft. Thus, I'm looking forward to our exhibition that will be held in Istanbul."