【Cultural relics restoration in action (1)】Protect the beauty of cultural relics and practice the skills of the world

Editor's note

Recently, the National Cultural Relics Industry Vocational Skills Competition jointly sponsored by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the All-China Federation of Trade Unions was held in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. 219 players from all over the country competed on the same stage. The competition consists of 6 projects: woodwork, masonry, ceramics, mural sculptures, metal cultural relics restorers, and archaeological excavators.

China has more than 76,1 immovable cultural relics and more than <> million cultural relics (sets) in its collection, and a large number of high-quality cultural relics restorers and archaeological excavators are urgently needed.

In order to let more and more young people engage in cultural relics restoration and archaeology, let the spirit of craftsmanship flourish in the cultural relics industry, and let the traditional skills pass on the beautiful vision, starting from this issue, we will launch a series of reports on "Cultural Relics Restoration in Action", focusing on those objects, crafts, people and things that are happening in the current cause of cultural relics restoration.

The competition area is bright and quiet. From time to time outside the fence, there were spectators walking around, and the "squeaking" sound of their feet stepping on the rubber mats, one after another, sounded "cautious". Inside the fence are contestants, some holding signature pens thoughtfully, others arching their backs, holding small flat shovels to tinker with the mural.

This is the site of the mural color sculpture cultural relics restorer competition of the National Cultural Relics Industry Vocational Skills Competition on March 3, and the competition items held at the same time, as well as woodwork, masonry, ceramics, metal cultural relics restorers and archaeological excavators. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and the All-China Federation of Trade Unions co-hosted the competition, which was held at the Shanxi Police College.

"I'm very relieved." Jiang Daoyin, a 76-year-old expert in the restoration of ancient Chinese ceramics and a referee of the ceramic cultural relics conservator competition, said, "Holding such a national competition is particularly effective in popularizing cultural relics restoration, and will encourage more people to participate in the cause of cultural relics protection." ”

Bring real artifacts to the arena

If you don't look closely, the mural in front of the contestant looks more like a clay tablet. In fact, these murals are cultural relics taken from the temple in Changzhi Changzi County, Shanxi, each piece is about 1 square meter in size, and the contestants only do picture restoration this time, and then restore it to the wall of the temple to which they belong.

In the competition, the three competitions of metal, ceramics and mural color sculpture provided original cultural relics. Contestants must complete the protection and restoration within 3 hours, record the restoration process with text, photos and other information, and compile a restoration file.

"Restoring real artifacts in such a short period of time is a great challenge for the contestants." Zhong Jiajang, head of the movable cultural relics group of the competition, said.

Downstairs of the mural color sculpture cultural relics restorer competition area, there are two competition areas for metal and ceramic cultural relics restorers.

The cultural relics restored here come from museums all over Shanxi, Zhong Jiarang told reporters that experts roughly estimated the amount of cultural relics restoration in the early stage, and the contestants selected the cultural relics to be restored by drawing blind boxes, and the amount of labor was particularly large, and only partial restoration was carried out to ensure that the total workload was relatively fair.

Zhou Xianjing, a 37-year-old contestant in the Metal Antiquities Conservator category, drew a bronze lid. When she met with reporters, she still wore a protective gear on her right thumb. "Tenosynovitis, which has little impact on the game." She said that the main reason was that the planning was not done well, and she wanted to repair the lid before going to repair it, but the attempt to shape the lid was unsuccessful, wasting most of the day's time.

"There are also contestants in the ceramic cultural relics restoration team who have not been able to complete the restoration." 24-year-old player Zhou Yuqi said, but he may have been lucky, drew a pastel from the Republic of China, which belongs to glaze color, only need to draw on the surface, completed the restoration two hours in advance, "The completion is still relatively perfect, basically no traces of restoration can be seen." ”

The reporter learned that the preparatory team of the competition selected typical disease cultural relics for the practical competition. If you choose bronzes with "powdery rust" diseases, such diseases can be called the "cancer" of bronzes, and there are murals with empty drum diseases, and it is difficult to protect and treat.

"It is hoped that by selecting difficult typical disease cultural relics, it will truly reflect the skill level and theoretical knowledge level of the players, and show their superb skills." Luo Jing, director of the Department of Science, Technology and Education of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, said.

Return to tradition and speak with basic skills

This year's competition has the widest range of industry participation and the largest number of participants. The more than 200 finalists are all "top students" selected by various provinces. The average age of the contestants is 41 years old, with the oldest being 59 years old and the youngest being 20 years old.

The average age of the wooden cultural relics restorers was the largest, at 49.6 years, and Kong Lingwei and Zhu Xiaolin were both above average.

Kong Lingwei is 55 years old this year. After the game, he sent reporters the work he had done on the field. The moonbeam beam head line on the picture is smooth and soft, and the mortise and tenon are tightly seamed. When asked if there was anything he was dissatisfied with, he thought for a few seconds, "Can't fault it!" He said cheerfully, "The experts gave me a thumbs up when they saw it!" ”

In addition to the one-hour theoretical assessment, the wooden cultural relics restoration competition also has a 1-hour practical assessment. Contestants have to complete a copy of the moon beam head production, the top of the head and the head of the head, as well as the repair of the top of the tip. The tip should be supplemented by tenon and tenon method, one according to the requirements of the drawing, and the other repair method is free to play.

In the use of tools, the wood work and mud cultural relics restorer competition both emphasize that traditional wood tools should be used, not electric tools.

"The competition stipulates the use of traditional tools in order to maximize the craftsmanship and practice of reproducing cultural relics." Li Yongge, the chief judge of the wood cultural relics restorer project, explained that for example, the wood sawn out of the chainsaw is very straight, but the cultural relics are not so straight and flat.

Moon beams are more common in wooden buildings in the south, and Zhu Xiaolin from Shanxi and Kong Lingwei from Shandong have less contact. "But there are basic skills." Zhu Xiaolin said that as for the use of traditional tools, it is not a "requirement" for teachers. The 59-year-old Zhu Xiaolin is still working on the front line, and has been with tools such as gong, axe, saw, planer, shovel and chisel for more than 40 years. In this competition, Zhu Xiaolin completed the practical assessment two hours in advance.

Kong Lingwei has been in the woodworking industry for nearly 40 years and has been engaged in cultural relics restoration for 34 years. Previously, the National Cultural Relics Vocational Skills Competition was held twice, and he participated in them and won the second prize and the first prize successively. This time, like Zhu Xiaolin, he also "came to the competition with the tools and basic skills at hand".

It is an arena, but also a stage for exchange and learning

"It's a blessing." Zhu Xiaolin was surprised and very happy to have the opportunity to participate in the competition and win the award.

"There are too many masters." After taking a group photo on the day of the closing ceremony, Zhou Yuqi sighed that participating in the competition was a good opportunity to broaden his horizons.

"Cultural relics restoration is a long-term process, in addition to continuous practice, but also contact with cultural relics in various situations, and constantly enrich experience, in order to do this well." Li Qi, the chief judge of the ceramic cultural relics restorer project, said frankly that with the help of the competition platform, people with different experiences communicate and encourage together, find a sense of mission, and thus strengthen their determination to continue walking.

During the interview, experts and contestants expressed their expectations that the competition would let more people know about the cultural relics restoration industry, promote the improvement of the social status and economic treatment of cultural relics skilled talents, and enhance the professional identity of practitioners.

As a major country in cultural relics resources, China has not yet established a talent training system that matches the abundant cultural relics resources, coordinates with the heavy tasks of cultural relics protection, and meets the requirements of high-quality development of cultural relics.

Jiang Daoyin was deeply touched by this. He told reporters that at present, the restoration force of cultural relics is relatively weak, and there are many cultural relics dug up, and if protective restoration is not carried out in time, some cultural relics will age over time.

"I hope young people will go to work quickly and shine quickly." Jiang Daoyin said earnestly, the technology should be passed on quickly, and I hope that young people will stand on our shoulders and go higher and further.

Luo Jing revealed that following the promulgation of the National Occupational Skill Standards for Cultural Relics Conservators in 2021, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage drafted the National Occupational Skill Standards for Archaeological Diggers in 2022, which will be promulgated to the society later.

"We will explore practices such as upgrading the academic qualifications of cultural relics craftsmen and linking vocational skill levels with salaries, so as to improve the treatment and status of cultural relics skilled talents, and make cultural relics skills work a profession that everyone respects and aspires to." Luo Jing said.

(Workers' Daily Zhu Xin)