金屬工藝產業 The metal craft industry
Beginning of the craft
In the ancient times, appliances of daily livings were all handcrafted. At that time people only strove for utilizing the functionality of appliances to meet the basic needs of life. Along with human culture development, people became to emphasize the art of esthetics in addition to keep pursuing the improvement of skills. Before 1750 of the Industrial Revolution, the craft just became the spokesman of the human culture evolution. Daily necessities were made purely by manual production called “the handicraft”; After the Industrial Revolution, people use a lot of machinery to assist the manufacture. Therefore, “the craft” and “the industry” became the two branches of the skills of manufacture.
In the early stage, main difference between both lies in the production pattern and the value of esthetics: “The craft” is primarily by the manual manufacture, but take the machinery as auxiliaries. The designer and the maker are the same person and it emphasizes the practical functionalities and esthetics performance; “The industry” takes the machinery production as the only way, but the designer is separated from the manufacturer to reduce production cost and go massive production as the main consideration. It emphasizes on being economy and practical as the main pursuit but not too pays attention to esthetics. Nowadays the discrimination of both tends to be fuzzy, because the industrial products are more and more exquisiter than ever and tended to be “more crafted”; the craft also gradually emphasizes the production volume and goes more “industrial production”.
Beginning of the metal craft
Before 2300 B.C. the craft of gold, silver, bronze and brass had been found in the West human culture original area – the Mesopotamia located between the Euphrates River and the Tigris River. Until the 7th century B.C. the development of the metal craft also could be found in the art culture of Islam, which is famous by the carving flower and the inlay works of copperware and iron hardware.
While mentioning about the craft in China, it needs to trace back to the 21st century B.C. around the initial period of the Xia Dynasty of China, which started the skill of smelting the metal. Its bronze products also gradually became the representative works of metal craft in the ancient and modern China. At that time the purpose of these products were mainly for the sacrificial and the vessel uses such as the Mao-gong tripod found in the Shannxi area of China, the length of its engraved inscriptions reached to nearly 500 characters. Afterwards the metal craft were gradually applied to the use of everyday life. Furthermore, the extremely outstanding copper ware was found in the Han dynasty of China, and the gold and silver ware and the bronze mirrors reached to the peak of artistic works in the Tang dynasty of China. And until the Ming dynasty of China, the skills of copper smelt were enhanced by the Xuande stove and the cloisonne onto a even higher level.
Therefore, the metal craft is not only recording the human history and the cultural evolution, but also helping the lives of humanity and the related appliances. For example, the performance of the metal craft could be seen on the appliances of daily livings, the household utensils, the ornaments and even the outdoors landscape. The metal craft also displays the different subjective experiences and the emotions through its unique material, shape and functionality. Along the progress of modern science and technology, there are lots of unceasing innovation of the metal craft in the area of the skills, the material, the functionality and the esthetics, which enhance the artistry of the metal craft even more, such as the precision casting, layering galvanization, laser cutting and so on.
Taiwan's metal craft and stainless steel works
While mentioning about the modern metal craft development in Taiwan, we need to mention the artistic Master Mr. YuYu Yang who lived in a fine surroundings of the Yilan County of Taiwan since his childhood. Started from 1950 he carved landscape sculptures to begin his metal craft works and in 1970 he represented Taiwan through co-working with the famous Architect Mr. I.M. Pei in the world exposition of Osaka, Japan, and was responsible to manufacture the large-scale landscape sculpture ” Advent of the Phoenix”. Until 1990 he manufactured the large-scale stainless steel landscape sculpture called “Phoenix scaling the Heaven”, now permanently exhibited in the Beijing national Olympics center of mainland China. And in 2006 his another representative work “Mandarin’s Sleeve”, which Mr. Chan Lien gave to Mr. Jingtao Hu, the Central General Secretary of mainland China, at present lays aside in the Olympics area between the Water Cube and the Bird Nest of Beijing.
However, except for the artistic creations of Mr. YuYu Yang, the great progress of the metal craft in Taiwan had not been seen since the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. Since then the sociality of Taiwan did not prize the native metal handicrafts but those from foreign countries, such as the precious jewelries, the furniture ornaments and the outdoors landscape sculptures seen at everywhere. Furthermore, Taiwan's metal industry had lost its soul, not only becoming immutably making standard products and counterfeits, but also performing the mass production for foreign companies. And at the end the fine metal craft only could be seen in individual performance of artists of Taiwan.