Gourd Engraving: Li Yu Cheng 葫芦: 李玉成

Examples of decorated gourds are found nearly everywhere in the world. In China the gourd is associated with longevity and fecundity, and is used as a charm to ward off negative influences. Shou Lou, the God of Longevity, carries a gourd, as does Li T’ieh Kuai, one of the Eight Immortals.

In China, dried gourds are embellished through engraving, carving, shaping, polishing, and painting. Scholars have found mentions of decorating gourds in books dating to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE) that in turn refer to the practice in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE).