70-year-old master craftsman Fangze Yu can bring mythical creatures to life using nothing but straw. His most recent piece of work is an impressive dragon that he hand-crafted out of 83,600 pieces of rice straw!
Mr. Yu and his daughter spent four months working on the dragon at his workshop in China’s Jiangxi province. He started by creating a bamboo frame to support the structure. He then painstakingly assembled individual pieces of straw, using 10 different knitting and weaving techniques, to complete the 28-m, 35-kg masterpiece.
Interestingly, straw dragon-making is an ancient craft that originated during the Ming Dynasty, and has been practiced for hundreds of years. These dragons, considered good omens, were burnt beside the river. By doing this, locals believed that they were sending the dragon back to its palace, asking it to bless the community in return. Dragon-making is recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage.
Mr. Yu himself is recognised by the government as an expert in the craft; he’s made eight of the straw masterpieces so far. His previous pieces have been featured in exhibitions and won several prizes. His latest dragon is currently on display at the Jiujiang City museum.
Photos: China News Service/Yin Meisheng