Silver-inlaid black copper, A dying art in SW China

Silver-inlaid black copper, a handmade craftwork, is a dying art in SW China’s Yunnan Province.

The craftwork, called “Wutongzouyin” in Chinese, or “copper paddling thread weaving enamel”, enjoys equal reputation as Cloisonne, or Jingtailan.

It requires a complicated yet delicate process. The craftsman uses black copper as the roughcast, engraves it with decorative designs and inlay melted pure silver into the nicks.

As the two metals are fused into one under high temperature, other technical treatments, including cooling and polishing, turn it into an exquisite artwork.

Jin Yongcai in Kunming, Yunnan is the sixth-generation inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage, which has a history of nearly 300 years.

Though in his mid-60s, Jin has been busy promoting the traditional crafts art, trying to pass on the skills to about a dozen of his apprentices.

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