Veteran craftsman gives old furniture a new lease of life
2018-02-28 18:03:00

A craftsman in Gusu District, Suzhou City has built a reputation for restoring used furniture so well it seems newly made.

Qian Qilin can repair furniture from the past, whether a small decorative furnishing or a wardrobe set, without adding a single nail.

Qian joined Suzhou Mahogany Carving Factory in 1973 as a fitter, an occupation he continued for 40 years. He is now a well-known master of making Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) style furniture, with his craftsmanship recognized as an intangible cultural heritage by the province.

A master carpenter, Qian is able to craft the structure and materials, and is an expert in the mortise and tenon joints frequently used to make furniture in the Ming and Qing dynasties as well as other furniture.

Due to his outstanding skill, Qian was responsible for producing furniture furnishings at important venues such as the meeting hall at Ziguangge in Zhongnanhai, Diaoyutai State Guesthouse and Suzhou’s Chongyuan Temple, while also working as a technical director.

In the 1990s, he was invited to visit Germany for a year, where he participated in interior decoration using classic styles and brought Chinese culture to the West.

After retirement, Qian has been committed to making and restoring traditional furniture. He has opened a studio in his home displaying restored furniture and also turning it into a dynamic meeting and exchange center.

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