Archive for the ‘Legends concerning Traditiona Arts and Crafts’ Category

The Legend of Ganjiang and Moye

October 21st, 2005 No comments
The couple of Ganjiang and Moye, masters of sword casting, tempered double-edged swords in blazing fire day and night.

The couple of Ganjiang and Moye, masters of sword casting, tempered double-edged swords in blazing fire day and night.

During the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States, the iron abounding in the Yue State was the best in quality and sword-making masters emerged in large numbers, of whom Ganjiang was a man of great reputation. Afterwards, Ganjiang went to the Wu State and was tied in wedlock with Moye. As He Lv, the king of the Wu State, was fond of double-edged sword, the two of them were appointed to an official position. For casting an excellent sword, the king of the Wu State sent someone to acquire the best iron from the Yue State and ordered Ganjiang to work out a unique sword within three months or he would be beheaded for disobeying the order.

Ganjiang and Moye went on working hard night and day for two months, but the iron was still not melted in the furnace. The deadline for the sword was due soon but they were at their wits’ end. Ganjiang brought up the story about how his master worker and his wife jumped into the furnace so that the iron was melted and a good sword was worked out within the deadline set by the king of the Yue State. After hearing the story, Moye decide to sacrifice her life for the sword. After turning the issue over in his mind for a long time, Ganjiang said as hair and nails of human beings were parents’ essence, maybe they could melt the iron. So Moye cut off her long hair and nails and threw them into the blazing fire. Simultaneously, three hundred young boys and girls did all they could to air-blast the furnace with more carbon added in the balzing fire. In an instant the iron melted and a couple of unique “male and female swords” in the world was finally wrought. The male sword, covering with lines in tortoise-shell pattern on the surface, was named Ganjiang while the female sword, covering with lines in water-wave pattern on the surface, was named Moye.
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Lu Ban, a carpenter consecrated by artisans of all crafts

July 21st, 2005 No comments

LubanLu Ban, also as known as Gongshu Ban, was a renowned carpenter of the Lu State during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. The social changes made artisans gain some freedom and the wide use of ironware provided favorable conditions for the development of handicraft technology. In the respect of tool innovation and workmanship, Lu Ban found his own way to distinction ancient books recorded his deeds in tool innovation and fabrication of various kinds of utensils for daily use, such as the yinkuo (an appliance used for straightening out lumber) and shovel.

Lu Ban was originally a carpenter but it had already been said in the ancient times of China that he was also engaged in other workmanships, such as coppersmith, stonemason, etc. According to the legend circulated in the Han Dynasty, Lu Ban was said to carve and paint the crossbeams of the palace in Luoyang and build a bridge in the vicinity of Chang’an. Afterwards, this kind of legend increased day by day at various places and people took not too much notice whether there legends were in conformity with Gongshu Ban’s history during the Warring States Period but instead they took Lu Ban as an ideal character of skilled artisan. For uplifting the notability of their respective trade, many trades such as carpenter, bricklayer, stonemason, shipbuilder, vehicle fabricator, etc. all consecrated Lu Ban as the founder of their respective trade. As a result, the phenomenon “artisans of all crafts consecrate Lu Ban” occurred.