【Explanation】Inkstone has been called the Four Treasures of the Study with pen, ink and paper since ancient times, and it is an essential tool for Chinese calligraphy.

Helan Inkstone is an inkstone made of Helan stone as the rough stone. Its carving skills have a history of 300 years in Ningxia.

In 2017, Xixia District, Yinchuan City, Ningxia was named the "Hometown of Helan Inkstone in China".

In 2018, Ningxia Helan Inkstone was included in the "Top Ten Famous Inkstones in China".

  [Concurrent] Yan Senlin, inheritor of Helan inkstone production skills, a national intangible heritage project

  The formation of our Helan inkstone was 1.3 billion years ago, on the seabed.

It is a kind of rock that belongs to mud deposition (formation), and it is called sedimentary rock in mineralogy.

Then the Helan inkstone is very similar to Duan inkstone and She inkstone, (therefore) The New Era was designated as one of the top ten famous inkstones in China by the Four Treasures of Scholars Association of China.

  [Explanation] Yan Senlin was born in a family of inkstone making. His ancestors have been engaged in inkstone making since the Guangxu reign of the Qing Dynasty. His fathers used Helan stone to carve decorations in the Ningxia Hall of the Great Hall of the People. It has a history of more than 130 years.

Yan Jiayan's characteristic is mainly based on beautiful color carvings, based on the rough Helan stone, carved according to the shape of the Helan stone and different levels of color, and finally made Helan inkstone.

  [Concurrent] Yan Senlin, inheritor of Helan inkstone production skills, a national intangible heritage project

  You see, our Helan inkstone is mainly composed of two colors. If you look at deep purple and bean green, then this (work) is a more extreme way of our pretty color carving.

You are very shallow like this one, it has 5 or 6 layers (color) within a total thickness of 1 cm, so it is quite difficult to design and engrave.

It is more difficult to be able to design it completely and to show the beauty of this material.

  [Explanation] In order to let more people understand Helan Inkstone, Yan Senlin put aside the inherent concept of inheritance, and started from basic education. He offered courses in Helan Inkstone making skills to colleges and universities to teach more people Helan Inkstone's carving skills.

In his words: It is my duty to inherit and promote China's intangible cultural heritage.

  [Concurrent] Yan Senlin, inheritor of Helan inkstone production skills, a national intangible heritage project

  Any craftsmanship in China is passed on through two methods. The traditional method of passing on is the way the master leads the apprentice.

But today we have another way. We introduced him to colleges and universities and spread it to college students.

Then your audience will be wider, college students will have a higher cultural level, and their understanding will be stronger; there may be some people entering this industry.

  [Explanation] Yan Senlin started making Helan inkstones in 1973, and it has been 48 years.

From lush years to full of silver hair, he poured his life's hard work on the production, inheritance and promotion of Helan inkstone.

This old man in his early years explained to us what craftsmanship is with his actions.

  [Concurrent] Yan Senlin, inheritor of Helan inkstone production skills, a national intangible heritage project

  One of my feelings about making Helan Inkstone is a kind of persistence.

Our country now pays attention to the spirit of craftsman, what is the spirit of craftsman?

The craftsmanship is that you do one thing well and achieve the ultimate.

Like we should have done one thing in a lifetime, like me, Yan Jiayan, we have done this for four lifetimes so far, and we have done this thing in 130 years.

Until today, when I make every piece of work, I have been doing it earnestly.

There is no end to art, that is, to live and learn.

  Xie Yu Ningxia Yinchuan Report

Editor in charge: [Bian Liqun]

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