Small is beautiful

By Hou Chenchen | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-03-12 12:30
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A detailed scale model brings to life a village courtyard scene from yesteryear. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Master craftsman keeps memories of bygone rural life alive through his miniature models, Hou Chenchen reports.

The paper edges of faded red Spring Festival couplets curl on the timeworn wooden door, while a gnarled persimmon tree laden with its golden fruit stands near the entrance.

Close by, a broom made of pine branches leans casually against the peeling, white wall of the house with patches of weathered, gray bricks exposed.

The serene scene can generate nostalgic feelings for many Chinese residents who have lived in a traditional, rural Chinese courtyard dwelling — until a huge hand interrupts any such bucolic reminiscing as it carefully places a fingernail-sized stone well in the yard.

Li Yizhong, an artisan of miniature items, is putting the final touches on the scale model of a folk house. As a pioneer of the art, the 40-year-old from East China's Shandong province is dedicated to replicating traditional dwellings in China, creating miniatures of the homes across the country.

Miniature art refers to works created on a scale significantly smaller than their conventional size. Scale modeling, a subset of miniature art, involves the meticulous crafting of small replicas of three-dimensional sculptures or architectural projects.

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