Retired carpenter makes miniature Xi'an to scale

By Huo Yan and Zheng Caixiong in Xi’an | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-12-12 15:17
Liang Dehuai, 80, a retired carpenter in Xi'an, recently completed the construction of a miniature Xi'an made with bamboo and wood. The miniature covers an area of about 44 square meters. [Photo by Huo Yan/chinadaily.com.cn]

An 80-year-old man recently completed construction of a miniature Xi'an city made with bamboo and wood.

The miniature covers an area of about 44 square meters, and is built in strict accordance with a 200:1 scale of landmark buildings in the northwestern metropolis. It reaches a perimeter of 27.2 meters, 8.3 meters long and 5.3 meters wide.

In addition to the city's iconic architecture — bell tower, drum tower, the great wild goose pagoda and the small wild goose pagoda — the miniature consists of more than 100,000 bamboo and wooden accessories and parts. This includes the city walls, including 18 gates, 70 gate holes, 2,500 city buttresses, more than 2,500 arrow holes, and other ancient features of the city that has served as capital for many ancient Chinese dynasties.

"The bamboo and wooden joints of the miniature are joggled with traditional Chinese craftsmanship and technologies, and I did not use a nail or a drop of glue," Liang said.

"I am a native of Xi'an. And it is my greatest wish for the rest of my life to be able to shrink the ancient city into a piece of art," he added. Liang started building his miniature when he retired in 1990.

To accurately construct his miniature, Liang once spent more than six hours a day riding his bike to visit all the ancient architectures and take their measurements.

Liang was employed by a local construction company after he was demobilized and he later became a carpenter. During this period, Liang studied the history of ancient Chinese architecture, the repair technologies of ancient Chinese architecture and other professional architectural books.

Liang once participated in the reconstruction and maintenance work of Xi'an's city walls, turrets and other ancient architectural features.

Ni Lizhu, Liang's wife, said Liang did everything himself — design, drawing drafts, preparing materials, calculating dimensions and using the operating platform he designed and made to process the accessories and repairs to build the miniature.

"Now Liang is still taking local processing and polishing work for his miniature, despite his poor health conditions," Ni said.

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