A makeup shop located beside the West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang displays and sells cosmetics bearing various intangible cultural heritages, among which a lipstick tube and powder compact set in filigree cases are among the highlights.
The lipstick tube and powder compact case were made from filigree and inlay techniques by 59-year-old Yuan Changjun, who has dedicated himself to this ancient craft for over 30 years.
The lipstick tube is made in the shape of a traditional Chinese lock with a filigree golden peacock, and the auspicious bird pattern is also embossed on the powder compact case.
Filigree and inlay techniques date back nearly 3,000 years and were gradually perfected in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). They were once widely used in royal accessories and as decoration for sophisticated crafts. Craftsmen twist two or more pieces of thin gold or silver wire into a single thread, making it form different patterns and shapes, and inlaying it with precious stones.
As an inheritor of these time-honored techniques, Yuan Changjun never ceases his efforts to pass on the craft and make it more practical. His filigree shell-shaped handbags and flower-shaped brooches were presented to the spouses of heads of state attending the 2014 APEC Meeting in Beijing as a national gift.