Gourd Engraving: Wang Xiaoqi 王小琪

An example of her work

Wang Xiaoqi is a third generation gourd engraver living in Beijing.  Her grandfather began carving in the 1940s. Although he learned traditional Chinese practices of the craft from a Chinese master artist, he incorporated some stylistic approaches from the West. (Chinese artists depict people as part of nature, for example, whereas Western artists have traditionally seen themselves as apart from nature. Chinese artwork also is often more delicate and spiritual than Western art.) He taught Wang Xiaoqi’s father, and her father taught her. Wang Xiaoqi started to engrave gourds when she was 8 or 9 years old.  She works six to seven hours a day and sells mostly to museums and individual art collectors. Because she is a third generation engraver, she feels it is important to maintain the style of her ancestors, but she also likes to do some things differently.