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Legacy Series III: The Wang Ching-shuang family

  • Date:2016-09-29
Legacy Series III: The Wang Ching-shuang family

The inheritance of lacquer crafts

Wang Ching-shuang (王清霜) is an established master of lacquer painting who introduced modern Japanese techniques of the art form to Taiwan. Having helped foster the development of contemporary crafts in Taiwan, Wang now passes the baton to his two sons, Wang Hsien-min (王賢民) and Wang Hsien-zhi (王賢志), who have inherited his techniques and are infusing the traditional art with new energy.

Though the senior Wang acquired lacquer-painting skills from Japan, he has since experimented with new methods and different materials in his creations, including traditional lacquer painting, lacquerware, and contemporary lacquer art. Wang also developed Taiwanese lacquer art that embodies local cultural elements.

To promote Taiwanese lacquer art, Wang established the Mei Yen Lacquer Art Co., Ltd. (美研工藝公司) in Nantou County in 1959. The company applied a screen-printing technique that helped reduce costs and increase production, making exquisite lacquerware affordable for the general public.

Wang Hsien-min and Wang Hsien-zhi, who grew up watching their father creating lacquer art with full dedication, have learned to appreciate the art form since their childhood years. After finishing university, they both entered the lacquer industry by helping their father manage the company.

Following their father's objective to make art a part of daily life, the Wang brothers brought the company to another level, developing tableware, vases, and gift products that are both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

The Wang brothers believe that a lacquer piece has to be more than just creative - it has to carry cultural context. With this distinguishing philosophy, the Wang brothers have captured their own prizes in craft exhibitions and competitions, which help to increase the visibility of lacquer art.

During a time when many traditional manufacturers in Taiwan are closing or moving abroad, Mei Yen Lacquer Art has survived the downturn since its products are highly celebrated for the unique aesthetics of the Wang family. The company has established its status as a producer of artistic, exquisite, and practical handicrafts, and is successfully expanding to overseas markets.

In addition to creating lacquer crafts, the Wang brothers also teach lacquer painting and lacquerware crafting in workshops in the hopes of preserving and passing down the traditional art form to the next Taiwanese generation.

Today, Wang Chun-wei (王峻偉), the grandson of Wang Ching-shuang, is also following the footsteps of his grandfather and father to become a lacquer painter. From one generation to the next, this family of lacquer artists continues to be the impetus in the development of Taiwanese lacquer art.

Wang Ching-shuang

Wang Ching-shuang is the master of lacquer painting, an ancient yet timeless art form that requires such devotion and detail that the 2007 National Crafts Achievement Award winner has produced less than a hundred pieces of artwork in his entire career ... (read more)

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