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Saving faces for eternity

Saving faces for eternity

Updated: 2012-04-05 07:50

By Cheng Yingqi (China Daily)

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At first sight, Han Xiaodong's studio looks no different from that of any other sculptor.

Big shelves stand in the center holding large sculptures, and all kinds of tools lie on tables and the floor.

On the wall facing the sculptures hang dozens of photos. A closer look reveals that the photos usually feature the same person, but at different ages.

And most of the time, the person has already died.

Han, 34, an art teacher at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, also designs and creates artistic tombstones with sculptures for the dead.

"Only 10 to 15 percent of my time is spent here, on the creative work I love," Han told China Daily in his studio in the northeast corner of Beijing.

Han started the trade in 2004 when he was reached by a relative of Yu Qiuli, one of the nation's founding generals.

The family wanted to set up a statue of Yu for his tomb in the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery, the resting place for the country's revolutionary heroes and high-profile officials.

"It was the first time that I had visited the revolutionary martyrs cemetery. Most of the tombstones were cut in the same shape and same size, standing in perfect unison, showing no differences at all except for the names," Han said.

So he made a plan for the family to build a bronze bust of Yu in front of a large stone to show his military ethos.

 Saving faces for eternity

Han Xiaodong, 34, an art teacher at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, works on the casting model for his statue in a workshop in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in this file photo. Provided to China Daily 

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