From designing Ferraris to forging silver


By Qu Zhi
BEIJING, Dec. 9 — Secure, well-paying jobs are very important to young Chinese, but three remarkable men decided to follow their passion instead and become craftsmen. Qu Zhi reports.
Chen Zhongxian used to design racing Ferraris, but now he’s self-taught silversmith, meticulously making delicate teapots.
Shi Chang used to be an engineer building skyscrapers, but now he’s a self-taught carver of ornamental stone, still pondering how to carve the raw jade he bought several years ago.
Yin Wei still works as the general manager of a trading company selling cartoon products, that pays the rent.
But it’s his avocation that he loves. He has taught himself to make carved gourd and bamboo ornaments with complex inlays.
These three men, all in their 30s, are unusual today since secure, well-paying positions, especially careers with status, are sought after and seldom relinquished.
But Chen and Shi quit their jobs, and Shi has shifted his focus to his studio. They are unusual in their pursuit of ancient craft skills and the study of Chinese art and culture, instead of material success. They are also unusual because they have the support of their families.
None of the three craftsmen has a website or advertises, and they are usually located through word-of-mouth among a small circle of craftsmen and shop owners.
Silversmith
In Chen Zhongxian’s studio in Minhang District, he is surrounded by delicate silversmith’s tools, tiny hammers, scalpels and welding equipment.
The 37-year-old craftsmen is bent over a bench, meticulously incising a flower petal on a small silver teapot he just produced. It’s tiny and round, made of a single piece of silver in the way of old-time smithing. The knob on the lid is a flower.
Chen insists on following the craftsmanship that originated during the Tang Dynasty [db:内容2]