Glorious Stone Sculpture of Maonan Ethnic Group
The Maonan people live in the brace of mountains one generation after another. An indissoluble bound is forged with the stones in the mountains. They live in railing buildings. The lower half of the railing in the bottom is stele. The sidesteps from the yard to the building are made of stone bars. The foundations and gable of the railing building are neat stones. Even door bank, flat roof, cattle pen, pig fence, desk, stool, jar and water basin are laid and chiseled by stone. Taking artistic beauty into consideration, they engraved in stone articles with some patterns such as birds, flowers, worms and fish. All of these are in great demand in the market.
The artistic level of stone carving is mainly displayed on the carving of the stone tomb. On the Fengteng Mountain in the Maonan area, there is an ancient tomb group. Some stone poles focus on eaves and pavilions, carved with images, such as warriors weaving scourges, Grandpa Jiang fishing under the willows, a Confucian scholar writing books near the window, Thunder God and Water Spirits. On the stone posts, the twining dragons are carved, and on the plinths, the flowers and animals are decorated. On the top of the tombs there are carved stones of immortal calabash, sun, cloud water, Chinese unicorn and so on, some of which are high up to 4 to 5 meters. It seems to be a large house built for living people. Insider between the two posts is a huge gravestone, both sides of which are engraved with a big breadth of elegiac couplet. The couplet’s margin is carved with vivid images, such as phoenixes, thrushes, cranes, bats, swimming fish, spotted deer, celestial peaches, green pines, narcissus, and elephants, to signify luckiness, longevity, wealth, surplus, high salary and rectitude.
Maonan stonecutters have a good tradition to work at the carvings with great care, ponder over diligently, and object to muddle through the work to save times. The experienced master workers require the apprentices to dig stone powder every day not to be more than one ox-eye cup. Otherwise the works can not be regarded as handicrafts. It is obvious that Maonan stone carving handicrafts are exquisite, fine and smooth.