Even though Deng Daohang is already 78 years old, as a true artist she is still creating world-class wood figurative sculptures. Interestingly, she only uses archaic tools like hatchet, carving knife and ruler. But looking at the smoothness of her carvings, they must have been carved with modern woodcarving equipment.
Daohang really respects the authentic composition of the materials she uses for her work. That’s why she leaves the rough outer layers as remaining components of the sculptures. The Craggy Bark, one of her pieces makes perfect beard of male’s face in contrary to his bald head.
In another piece, the shaggy coarse layer form a cloak for a woman with her nasty smile. With Daohang’s skills and imagination, she seems to work with her inner heart as she transforms raw lumber into delightful characters that somehow the figures seem to breathe with subtle mysticism.
Her sculpting work represents ancient Chinese technique which at present is slowly fading due to modern carving craftsmanship. Even so, she has the confidence that woodcarving traditions are to be preserved. “I believe this craft will not die.” Once she said in an interview.
With her great skills and devotion to traditional techniques, Daohang becomes a proof of longevity of Chinese woodcarving skills that the predominantly male-driven tradition in the past can have an evolution of which now female artists can also do the job. Because of that, she earned an honorary title of “craft master” in Hubei Province.