Mentioning the "Four Wonders" of Tianjin's folk arts and crafts, the "Three Wonders" - Yangliuqingqing Painting, "Clay Figure Zhang" and "Kite Wei" are known, but "Liu carved bricks" seems to have disappeared. Liu" has been broken down.

However, the reporter learned that the craft of "carving brick Liu" actually has successors, and it is better than blue.

  When I walked into the workshop, I saw a young woman wearing a mask, goggles, holding a hammer and a cone, and the air was filled with ash. The blue bricks under her hands slowly turned into relief works of art.

She is Liu Wanyun, the successor of "Brick Carving Liu".

The past and present life of "Brick Carving Liu"

  The ancestor of "Brick Carving Liu" was Ma Shunqing in the Daoguang period of the Qing Dynasty. His grandson Liu Fengming was the first generation of professional brick carving craftsmen in Tianjin. The "tiling method" invented by him was widely used by later Tianjin brick carving craftsmen.

The brick carving works of the "Liu Carving Brick" family are widely used in famous historical buildings in Tianjin.

Now, in Tianjin's Shijia Courtyard, Xu Family Courtyard, Guangdong Guild Hall, Beining Park, the Great Mosque, the Great Mosque of the Mosque, the Dabei Temple and other architectural relics, you can appreciate these fine brick carvings.

  After Liu Fengming's death, the stunt of carving bricks was passed on to his fourth son Liu Shuru.

In the early years, Liu Shuru was employed by his father in Tianjin Arts and Crafts Factory. When building the Drum Tower block, Liu Shuru carved bicycles, young pioneers and other elements of the times on the blue bricks, so that tradition and modernity can complement each other.

  In the later stage of the Arts and Crafts Factory, Tianjin gradually became a modern city with many high-rise buildings. The brick carving art of ancient buildings was gradually withdrawn from the market, and even the blue bricks used for brick carving were nowhere to be found.

Liu Shuru has no bricks to carve, and can only do some work in the reception room.

"Liu Carving a Brick" gradually disappeared from people's sight.

  Liu Wanyun is the granddaughter of Liu Fengming's eldest son Liu Shulin.

When she was born, brick carving was no longer fashionable.

But the brick carvings in the family of the fourth grandfather Liu Shuru still left a deep impression on her.

  Liu Wanyun, a master student studying classical literature, became interested in brick carving.

She proposed to the fourth grandfather to learn brick carving, but Liu Shuru refused her.

Liu Shuru persuaded Liu Wanyun that it was useless to learn brick carving, and it was better to spend time learning a skill that could make money.

  Liu Wanyun understood the difficulties of the fourth grandfather: "He didn't want to give up, but because he loved it too much. He could only make brick carvings all his life, but brick carvings were eliminated by society. He was very painful." Later, the old man let go, he told Liu Wanyun: "Go find the blue bricks for brick carving, and I will teach you."

  At that time, there were no brick kilns for firing blue bricks in Tianjin, so Liu Wanyun set foot on the road of finding bricks.

Carrying a carving knife, she found the south from the north, and finally found a brick with moderate hardness in Suzhou.

Liu Shuru stroked the blue bricks that Liu Wanyun had found, and hoped in his heart, and decided to accept this apprentice and pass on the "Brick Carving Liu" craftsmanship.

  Under Liu Shuru's careful guidance, Liu Wanyun gradually mastered the artistic essence of "carving brick Liu", and she opened a studio in her attic.

Tea trays, guqin, rowing machines for fitness... The furnishings in the studio are very "mix and match", which also shows that the owners here are young people who love traditional arts.

Liu Wanyun, who is sitting in the corner, is also very mixed: a satin cheongsam, long hair, but a grumpy face, she wears a transparent mask, and holds a carving knife and mallet in the flying dust, jingling, sitting for a whole day.

Brick carving is a hard work, and Liu Wanyun, born in 1985, has cervical spondylosis.

She laughed and said that her hand was like an old lady's hand, and it was common for her to be cut.

  While studying brick carving skills, Liu Wanyun is also committed to making "Brick Carving Liu" known to the world again.

She systematically sorted out the works of four generations of craftsmen from the "Brick Carving Liu" family, collected a large amount of text and video materials, and successfully applied for intangible cultural heritage.

  When Liu Wanyun declared the intangible cultural heritage, Li Zhibang, president of the Tianjin Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Association, was overjoyed.

"Are you 'Brick Carving Liu'? Are you the successor of that 'Brick Carving Liu'?" Li Zhibang encouraged Liu Wanyun, "It's better to be late than never, you have to work hard, and you have to work hard!"

  When Liu Wanyun presented the intangible cultural heritage certificate to Liu Shuru, the old man was very happy.

He passed on the brick-carving tools with a history of more than 100 years from Liu Fengming to Liu Wanyun.

  In 2020, 82-year-old Liu Shuru passed away. After experiencing the glory and trough of "Liu Carving a Brick", Liu Wanyun gave him comfort and hope.

Let brick carvings have both classical cultural charm and novelty

  "Art is eternal, a painting, a brick, as long as it is preserved, it will always be there." As the intangible inheritor of the younger generation, Liu Wanyun thinks not only about inheriting the skills of his ancestors, but also how to use them in today's world. The society finds the value of brick carving art, and makes brick carving come to life again.

  Because he was a half-way monk, and traditional handicrafts lacked systematic theoretical support, Liu Wanyun decided to go to Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts to study Western sculpture techniques.

  During her studies in Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, while adhering to traditional techniques, she also groped to incorporate some Western techniques into her own creations.

She thinks about making brick sculptures move from solidified architectural decoration to vivid daily life and return to popular art.

Liu Wanyun used blue bricks to carve works such as pen holder, tea holder and inkstone, which have both classical cultural charm and novelty.

  In order to let young people know about "Liu Carving a Brick", Liu Wanyun gave lectures at Tianjin University, Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts and other colleges and universities for many times, which also brought a lot of pressure to her: she should not be just a craftsman, but also become a brick sculpture researchers.

  Liu Wanyun traveled all over Gansu, Shanxi, Beijing, Tianjin, Jiangsu, Anhui, Guangdong and other places where the art of brick carving is prosperous.

During the visit, Liu Wanyun learned that in the Qing Dynasty, Tianjin's water transportation was well developed, bringing not only goods from the south of the Yangtze River, but also craftsmen and craftsmanship from the south.

The development of water transportation and shipping has brought together many wealthy businessmen and giants in Tianjin. They overhauled their mansions and imitated the salt merchants in the south of the Yangtze River with brick carvings as architectural decorations.

The Tianjin Guangdong Guild Hall was built in 1907. As a brick carving craftsman, Liu Fengming worked side by side with many woodcarving craftsmen from Guangdong for several years. Southern carving techniques had a profound impact on Liu Fengming, who was only 18 years old.

The Tianjin brick carving led by the "Liu Carving Brick" family has formed the characteristics of north-south compatibility, rich layers, and fine carving.

  Because of the experience of looking for blue bricks, Liu Wanyun kept in touch with brick carving factories in Shanxi, Jiangsu, Anhui and other places. More and more brick carving artists knew that Tianjin "Brick Carving Liu" had a female descendant.

When they have needs, they will contact Liu Wanyun, so Liu Wanyun receives some orders intermittently.

She often sculpts a work for two or three months, and the income is not enough to support her life. She sells the paintings and calligraphy she used to collect, and uses the proceeds to collect brick sculptures all over the country.

  Liu Wanyun also has a plan, which is to use the holographic scanning method to save the data of the works of the ancestors of "Brick Carving Liu", and then reproduce them through high-tech, so that these brick carving works that have weathered in the years can be restored and preserved. down.

  As a woman, Liu Wanyun exerts her meticulous and sensitive insight, integrates traditional brick carving into modern life, and breaks the functional limitations of brick carving works on the basis of inheritance of traditional techniques, so that brick carving is no longer limited to architectural decoration.

"I'm just glad I can do what I love," she said.

(Our reporter Liu Qian and Chen Jianqiang)