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Situation of the crafts and art market in China

Artisan d'asie Posted: july 27, 2016 / Modified: july 28, 2016
Situation of the crafts and art market in China
An art and handicrafts difficult to access. Any understanding of Chinese handicrafts.

Some people say the craft is a reflection of the culture of a country. China is a country full of art, tradition and culture of extreme refinement, which developed over 5.000 years of civilization. The knowledge was transmitted through writings, or from one generation to the other, allowing the world to enjoy these wonders. Unfortunately, this aspect of China is unfortunately not the best known facet of Western and this can be explained by several factors:

Complexity and richness of craftsmanship in China:
China is full of artisans and art forms distributed to the 4 corners of China. Here is a short summary of the most famous arts that everybody knows (at least I hope! ), Which we will study in more depth in future articles: the art of jade, the art of pottery and ceramics, calligraphy and painting, the art of the Chinese garden, the art of Buddhism, sculpture… So there are hundreds of art forms and tens of thousands of artisans in China, located in different provinces and some ethnic groups are appropriate practice, making it extremely difficult work of identifying and classifying the authorities, government institutions, or even associations or private companies. For example, some craftsmen find lost souls in the depths of a village or countryside, while others will be grouped in gigantic shopping complexes, making it easier access to works of art and products crafts for the general public.

Cultural and language barriers:
Needless to say, the language and culture are two very important obstacle to reach to the authentic handicrafts and quality (and to do many other things in China! ). Based on my personal experience, I would say that 99% of the artisans I met did not speak a word of English (and again, I think to be nice! ). Mastering Mandarin so is key to finding the best deals. Some of these products are quite complex (in terms of materials, manufacture, storage, use, etc. ), It's harder to make good shopping and good deals if you do not speak Chinese or n'not have a translator with you. (Note that it is extremely easy to find a translator in China, simply make the request at the reception of your hotel or at a local travel agency).

Lack of standardization, administrative and ethnic barriers:
China is a huge and decentralized country composed of 23 provinces inhabited by 56 ethnic groups. All these provinces and ethnic groups have their own specialties in terms of craft and art, which are themselves managed by different government institutions. The Department of Chinese culture, as well as some institutions and associations (such as «The Cultural Center of China» for example), try somehow to promote culture, art and Chinese crafts in China and across the world, but it is limited to the main art forms and the main players, leaving out thousands of small artisans, lonely and working independently without any help or support from the government or the associations. In France for example, every artisan is registered in the register of the Chamber of Trades and Crafts, and therefore can easily be identified by a logo or a directory. There is no such classification in China, thus making complex research of handicrafts for amateurs and professionals of Chinese art.

Lack of internationally information:
You may have noticed, but the favorite topic of our media when it comes to talk of China is not the art, culture and crafts, but these negative aspects, such as pollution, human rights, lack of education, the dog or cat treats (big shot far too common nowadays! ), Or other crazy stuff that we can see in China… Useless to remember that China has opened the world there are only less than 40 years, and since then the path to economic and cultural level by China and its people is already more than impressive. Rather, the act of communicating the positive aspects of China is likely to allow many people to form a different opinion of this beautiful country, and encourage them to discover and better know its culture and art, instead of point fingers and criticize what they do not know or very bad…

Finally, access to crafts, antiques and original artworks and quality may therefore be very tedious in China because of the lack of standardization and guarantees given by the government in terms of standards and legislation. The expertise, experience and command of Chinese are the keys to be able to obtain authentic products at the best prices, making access to these products limited to a handful of people.
To find these products, it is best to go directly to China to find these shops and artisan products (not easy for everyone! ), Or buy through specialist dealers. We will see in a future article, how to find these artisans and their works while traveling in middle earth!
More information: https://www.artisandasie.com/blogs/artisan-chine-asie/124025

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