Featured | A young man and his passion for Wu Opera

2020-08-25 14:45:32 source: Hou Mingming



Born in 1990, Zheng Hangchao is a native of Wuyi. He made more than 20 pieces of helmets for Wu opera with a head circumference of 4.5 to 6 cm and shared the production process through live streaming, which attracted many people to come to him to customize the cultural products of Wu opera.

 

"Please sit down for a while. I'm busy with making the helmet and I have to express it to the customer this afternoon." When the reporter saw Zheng, he was sitting in front of the workbench. The palm-sized helmets on the long table make people’s eyes bright. They can be used as mobile phone accessories, car accessories, and some are bags, brooches, etc., which can be regarded as fashion items with elements of Wu opera.

 

After greeting the reporter, Zheng continued to work. His left hand gently held a palm-sized helmet, and a thin needle was in his right hand. As the silk thread of royal blue ceaselessly "shuttling", a mini and lovely helmet showed its true face.


Hard to imagine, such a small helmet came out of this 1.8 meters tall boy's hand. “Finished! It took me 13 hours to make." Zheng stood up, twisted his neck, patted his waist, and said, "Although it was small, it was complicated to make. I used more than 20 kinds of materials. For example, this line is made of six colors and has a total length of over 100 meters." Zheng took out the helmet for performance and told reporters that the structure of each part of the mini helmet has to be reduced to one-tenth of the original scale. Hence, it is difficult to make a mini helmet.

 

The first challenge was plate-making. Draw draft on A4 paper first. And then decide the size and shape on the kraft paper. After that, draw patterns on A4 paper according to shape.

 

The second difficulty is embroidery. It is also the working procedure that consumes time most. A fine pattern can be made by fixing gold thread on the cloth bit by bit. "The pattern is small, so I have to spend a long time on it, feeling the eye is going blind." Zheng joked. 

 

Although he has been working on helmets for Wu opera for less than one year, Zheng has been attached to Wu opera for 17 years. From the age of 13, when he went to see his cousin perform Wu opera, he became fascinated with Wu opera and costumes. Since then, he went to the theater to see Wu opera as soon as the vacation came. And in college, he majored in embroidery which he favored. "At that time, many villagers didn't understand my choice. They wondered why a young man wanted to learn embroidery. But I think embroidery is a traditional craft that deserves to be passed down and carried forward," Mr. Zheng said with a smile.

 

As his craft matured, many of the troupe's friends came to him for customizing costumes. And he came to realize that even though his costumes were on the stage, they could only be appreciated by a few people. Later, when he was invited to teach opera in a primary school, he found that the children were curious about Wu opera. It got him thinking: how to integrate Wu opera and its costumes into people's lives?

 

微信图片_20200819161009.jpg


Last year, when he got a new car, an idea occurred to him. Why not make a small phoenix crown and hang it in the car? On the one hand, it can decorate the car. On the other hand, watching it makes people feel good. So he learned to draw three or four samples by himself and worked on them for three days and nights. Finally, he finished his work. "In fact, I am not very satisfied with my first work, but I didn’t expect to get many likes when I post the picture of it on Moments.”

 

Since February this year, he has been sharing the process of making a mini helmet on the Internet. Within a few months, his followers had risen from one to four figures. And netizens encouraged him to sell helmets. After that, more and more people knew about Zheng Hangchao, and the orders came one after another. The customers are all young people, not only in the Yangtze River Delta but all over the country. Speaking of people's love for mini helmets, Zheng looks elated.

 

Now, Zheng is always busy with study in the morning and making cultural products of Wu opera at night. "I hope to use my creativity and design to make more young people know and like Wu opera, thus enabling Wu opera to be better inherited and developed," Zheng said.


(Compiled by Xu Yuhong, translated by Yu Fei)

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Born in 1990, Zheng Hangchao is a native of Wuyi. He made more than 20 pieces of helmets for Wu opera with a head circumference of 4.5 to 6 cm and shared the production process through live streaming, which attracted many people to come to him to customize the cultural products of Wu opera.

 

"Please sit down for a while. I'm busy with making the helmet and I have to express it to the customer this afternoon." When the reporter saw Zheng, he was sitting in front of the workbench. The palm-sized helmets on the long table make people’s eyes bright. They can be used as mobile phone accessories, car accessories, and some are bags, brooches, etc., which can be regarded as fashion items with elements of Wu opera.

 

After greeting the reporter, Zheng continued to work. His left hand gently held a palm-sized helmet, and a thin needle was in his right hand. As the silk thread of royal blue ceaselessly "shuttling", a mini and lovely helmet showed its true face.


Hard to imagine, such a small helmet came out of this 1.8 meters tall boy's hand. “Finished! It took me 13 hours to make." Zheng stood up, twisted his neck, patted his waist, and said, "Although it was small, it was complicated to make. I used more than 20 kinds of materials. For example, this line is made of six colors and has a total length of over 100 meters." Zheng took out the helmet for performance and told reporters that the structure of each part of the mini helmet has to be reduced to one-tenth of the original scale. Hence, it is difficult to make a mini helmet.

 

The first challenge was plate-making. Draw draft on A4 paper first. And then decide the size and shape on the kraft paper. After that, draw patterns on A4 paper according to shape.

 

The second difficulty is embroidery. It is also the working procedure that consumes time most. A fine pattern can be made by fixing gold thread on the cloth bit by bit. "The pattern is small, so I have to spend a long time on it, feeling the eye is going blind." Zheng joked. 

 

Although he has been working on helmets for Wu opera for less than one year, Zheng has been attached to Wu opera for 17 years. From the age of 13, when he went to see his cousin perform Wu opera, he became fascinated with Wu opera and costumes. Since then, he went to the theater to see Wu opera as soon as the vacation came. And in college, he majored in embroidery which he favored. "At that time, many villagers didn't understand my choice. They wondered why a young man wanted to learn embroidery. But I think embroidery is a traditional craft that deserves to be passed down and carried forward," Mr. Zheng said with a smile.

 

As his craft matured, many of the troupe's friends came to him for customizing costumes. And he came to realize that even though his costumes were on the stage, they could only be appreciated by a few people. Later, when he was invited to teach opera in a primary school, he found that the children were curious about Wu opera. It got him thinking: how to integrate Wu opera and its costumes into people's lives?

 

微信图片_20200819161009.jpg


Last year, when he got a new car, an idea occurred to him. Why not make a small phoenix crown and hang it in the car? On the one hand, it can decorate the car. On the other hand, watching it makes people feel good. So he learned to draw three or four samples by himself and worked on them for three days and nights. Finally, he finished his work. "In fact, I am not very satisfied with my first work, but I didn’t expect to get many likes when I post the picture of it on Moments.”

 

Since February this year, he has been sharing the process of making a mini helmet on the Internet. Within a few months, his followers had risen from one to four figures. And netizens encouraged him to sell helmets. After that, more and more people knew about Zheng Hangchao, and the orders came one after another. The customers are all young people, not only in the Yangtze River Delta but all over the country. Speaking of people's love for mini helmets, Zheng looks elated.

 

Now, Zheng is always busy with study in the morning and making cultural products of Wu opera at night. "I hope to use my creativity and design to make more young people know and like Wu opera, thus enabling Wu opera to be better inherited and developed," Zheng said.


(Compiled by Xu Yuhong, translated by Yu Fei)

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