This time, the Ugan concept team and the Rong Design Library team visited many region across the country with "Wood and engraving" as the research theme.
During the investigation, it was found that there are three main changes in engraving: from “material” to “board”, “board” to “version”, “version” to “printing”, the raw materials are first pretreated and then engraved, and then the process of transfer is completed after the engraving. According to the changes in the plate and the processing technology, it can be summarized into four parts: “board-carving-plate-printing”.
A good woodcarving plate can be circulated all the time, so it is very particular about the selection of materials, requiring uniform texture, fine texture, and not easy to crack. There are common pear wood, boxwood, toon wood, jujube wood, mandshurica, ginkgo wood, birch and so on.
In order to make the sheet more stable, it needs to be pretreated.Starting from cutting and peeling, the master will cut into the required size according to the characteristics and structure of different wood blocks, and make them easy to preserve by soaking, cooking, and drying. For example, the blue Jiaxie process in southern Zhejiang will soak the selected wood in water to achieve a stable effect.After planing, it is polished to a smooth surface before the next step of engraving can be carried out.
Carving is a concentrated manifestation of the craftsmanship of engraving. Craftsmen first apply samples before carving, which can be divided into two types: direct sample application and paper coated sample application. For example, for wooden movable type, direct sample application involves writing the required text directly on a small wooden block with a brush before carving. For others, after completing the draft, paste is applied to the surface, and the final pattern of the paper is pasted onto the board surface before engraving.
When carving, the tools required are very fine, and there will be professional carving tools for different patterns, textures, thicknesses, etc.A piece of wood undergoes chiseling, carving, picking, shoveling, and scraping to leave different traces on the board.
After the engraving is completed, a version that can be used for “printing” is obtained.The patterns and forms of the plate are diverse. The Naxi Dongba Sutra Edition imprinted the natural aesthetics of Dongba culture in the scriptures and images, recording the migration, farming, labor and folk beliefs of this ancient region.Dali Xizhou Jiama is a folk woodcut printmaking art with mysterious colors. There are generally birds and beasts, mountains, rivers, lakes and seas. It is mostly used to pray for blessings and eliminate disasters, highlighting the simple beauty of all things in nature.As a traditional wedding must-have in southern Zhejiang, blue Jiaxie mostly sustains good wishes with auspicious patterns.Wooden movable type will be extended to the compilation of some genealogies and is a symbol of inheritance.
Printing is to realize the transition from craftsmanship to functionality.The transfer process includes brush printing, Gonghua, seal printing, rubbing, injection dyeing, missed printing, type dyeing, clip dyeing and other types. Most of them follow the principle of mirroring, that is, the resulting pattern is the opposite of the content engraved on the plate.
Similar to the concept of seals, reverse text or patterns are carved on wooden boards, inked, cover with paper, and pressurized to obtain positive characters and patterns.This is the case with Wenzhou Ruian wooden movable type and Suzhou Taohuawu woodcut New Year paintings.
"Gonghua" is a unique skill of Chinese traditional watermark woodcut. The rice paper is covered on the Gonghua plate, padded with felt, and then the Gonghua hammer is used to add the layout graphics on the paper, so as to obtain a texture similar to relief.
The blue Jiaxie is used to make the dye solution reach every gap for dyeing and transfer.
The carving technique has carved a long ancient rhyme and blended poetry, calligraphy and painting on paper and silk, and its artistic charm and cultural heritage have been passed down from generation to generation.
2023 Research Achievements in Wooden Materials Engraving
融设计图书馆和感物团队基于对木版年画、木版水印、木活字、甲马、金石篆刻、雕版拓印、模戳印花、夹缬、蓝印花布等中国传统手工艺的研究与考察，从「板- 雕 - 版 - 印」四个维度解构「雕版」的材料与工艺，得到「融研究图 · 木与雕版」手册。
Based on the research and investigation of traditional Chinese handicrafts such as woodcut New Year paintings, woodcut watermarks, wooden movable type, Jiama, Jinshi seal carving, engraving, die stamp printing, Jiaxie, and blue printed cloth, the Rong Design Library and the Ugan concept team deconstructed the materials and techniques of "engraving" from the four dimensions of "board-carving-plate-printing", and obtained the manual "Rong Research Map· Wood and Engraving".