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New Shanghai Intangible Cultural Heritage listing

We revisit Shanghai’s Intangible Cultural Heritage now, this time with ship models of a uniquely Chinese design. In Zhang Yuqi, we meet a craftsman as prolific as he is precise.

Although in miniature, the models in Zhang Yuqi’s studio are complete in detail, down to the rigging and ropes.

And a wide range of Chinese shipping is depicted.

Before Shanghai opened its port, the main commercial ships were the large junk. In the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties, the large junk greatly contributed to the transformation of Shanghai from a city reliant on fishing to a port city, Zhang said.

Another vessel uniquely adapted to its surroundings is this one with a crooked hull, used on the Wujiang River.

“The Wujiang River has a big volume of water, lots of bends and rocks, so the stern was made left-crooked for safety,” Zhang said.

Prior to starting his studio, Zhang worked in a full-scale shipyard for decades.

In June, his craftsmanship was listed in the fifth list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Shanghai, and it continues to appear in museums.