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Li Huitong: Hearing-impaired arts, crafts master from Zibo

A L M S| Updated: August 19, 2022


With tremendous concentration, Li Huitong paints the interior of a snuff bottle. [Photo/]

Artist Li Huitong from Zibo city – located in East China's Shandong province – recently received national recognition when he was included in the eighth edition of the Chinese arts and crafts masters list, released by the China National Light Industry Council on Aug 5.

The appellation master of Chinese arts and crafts is a national title of honor awarded only to those who have attained the highest skills in their field and represents the wisdom of traditional Chinese arts and crafts.

Li, who lost his hearing due to illness at the age of 10, is an official inheritor in Shandong of what is called inside painting and he has been engaged in the technique for more than 30 years.

Shandong inside-painting, also known as Lu inside painting, is the delicate and exacting technique used to paint the insides of a bottle. It originated more than 200 years ago in Zibo.

In 1986, when he was 18, Li started creating inside-painting artworks under the guidance of Wang Xiaocheng, a master of Chinese arts and crafts.

Unlike painting on paper or walls, inside paintings require tremendous concentration, the most delicate skills and carefully selected brushes. Li has to be meticulous when painting the interiors of the tiny snuff bottles. He has to take painstaking care, since one small mistake can ruin the entire work.

But his hearing condition helps, as he can sit still for most of the days without being disturbed.

Li works very hard to design different characters and shape different images. The images he paints, such as galloping horses, are extremely lifelike.

To inherit and develop the inside painting, Li not only researches and develops new varieties of interior paintings and cooperates with a factory, but also teaches several students who are interested in the traditional art, including his daughter.

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