September 25, 2015 1:54 PM
On September 24th, He Weifu, a third generation lantern maker from the Shanghai Museum of Arts & Crafts conducted a lantern-making workshop on campus. He Weifu, also known as the "King of Lantern," is considered one of China's National Living Treasures. His family's lantern technique, known as "The He," is registered with China's National Treasure Registry.
Traditionally in China, many children walked around carrying paper rabbit lanterns hand-crafted by their parents during the Lantern Festival. Unfortunately, this tradition has disappeared and almost all lanterns are now made of plastic and nylon, except for lanterns of the "He" technique. The "He" family tradition is known for its unique animal shapes of goldfish, cranes, dragons, phoenix, and birds, made of silk and electric bulbs.
He Weifu explained that the key to making vivid animal lanterns is to keep the image of the animal in your mind throughout the process of making the wire skeleton, wrapping it in silk and painting it. In the workshop, students creatively wrapped their wires around water bottles to make circles for the foundation of a rabbit lantern. It was a wonderful and rare opportunity for Mid-Pacific students and faculty to meet a master artisan from China and learn the basic skills of an age-old craft.