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Shihe, a village of carpenters

The hometown of woodcarvings in China, the Shihe village 10 km from Jianchuan County of Dali is a must-go for travellers who like to see the amazing traditional wooden carvings. 


Since ancient times, the ancestors (who were carpenters) of Shihe villagers mastered life skills and undertook business to fit up traditional architectures and make wood handicrafts.


As the wood handicraft production grows rapidly in Jianchuan County since China’s Opening-up and Reform in the late 1970s, craftsmen in Shihe Village don’t want to be outdone and get to business in their family-scale workshops. 


The sculptors of Shihe village focus much on the exquisite workmanship of their works that could be categorized into Line Engraving, Low Relief Carving, High Relief Carving, Three-dimension Carving, Piercing Carving, Chasing Carving and so on. The best one has been designed and carved in 5 layers. 


Most of the wood carvings are utilized as lattice windows/doors, screens, hanging screens/panels, archaized accessories and tourist souvenirs. The patterns are mainly human figures, flowers, carp, birds, lions, deer, tigers, elephants, phoenixes, dragons, Kylins, Chinese folk tales and even Chinese characters such as Fu (福,bliss), Lu (禄, fortune), Shou (寿, longevity), and Xi (禧, joy or wedding) etc.