The National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute yesterday presented the National Crafts Achievement Award to wood carver Chen Chi-tsun (陳啟村).
Born in Tainan in 1963, Chen at age 14 began studying traditional religious sculpture under Lin Yi-shui (林依水) of the Fuzhou School, the Ministry of Culture said.
In 1986, he opened the Chi-Tsun Sculpture Studio at the age of 24, it said.
Photo provided by the Ministry of Culture
Chen went on to earn many accolades, receiving second prize at the 1999 National Traditional Crafts Awards, a Da Dun Craftsman Award in 2007 and a Global Chinese Culture and Arts Award in 2010, the ministry said.
Last year, Chen was named a preserver of traditional woodcarving by the ministry’s Bureau of Cultural Heritage, it said.
Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (李永得) presented the award to Chen at a ceremony at the institute’s Taipei branch.
Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) and Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) were among the attendees.
The National Crafts Achievement Award is the nation’s highest honor in crafts, Lee said, adding that only one recipient is named each year.
The issuing of the award represents the nation’s highest respect for Chen’s dedication to Taiwan’s crafts industry, he said.
Chen’s work not only preserves traditional techniques, but also incorporates elements of modern art, Lee said.
His sculptures can be found not only in temples, but also in the collections of major museums and art galleries in Taiwan and abroad, Lee added.
Receiving the National Crafts Achievement Award is an honor, but also a responsibility, Chen said.
He hopes to help pass down traditional craft skills, he said, adding that he is to donate eight bronze sculptures to the institute.
This year was the award’s 14th edition, the ministry said, adding that the award recognizes people who have shown a lifelong commitment to craftsmanship.
Fourteen craftsmen, who either nominated themselves or were nominated by others, were candidates for this year’s prize, it said, adding that a jury decided the winner.
Wood carving is an important traditional Taiwanese cultural asset, jury member Lin Pao-yao (林保堯) said.
The jury selected Chen for his artistic achievement, for his work in passing on the craft and for his service to the community, he said.
Lin said that Chen’s sculptures could be found throughout southern Taiwan, including at the Wenwu City God Temple and the Zuoying City God Temple in Kaohsiung, and Tainan’s Shuzihjiao Bao-an Temple.
The National Museum of Taiwan History, the Tainan Art Museum and the Matsura Historical Museum in Hirado, Japan, are some of the museums that have collected his works, Lin added.
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