China's ceramic craftsmanship takes root in Egypt

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Added On August 13, 2017

To Cairo, Egypt where a scheme is helping local artists learn the secrets behind making traditional Chinese ceramics.
 
We went to take a look.
 
Inside the Foustat Traditional Crafts Center in Cairo, locals are learning how to make Chinese ceramic pottery.
 
To decorate, they use plaster molds, boards and paper templates of fishes and other shapes and designs.
 
The the two-week cultural, artistic event is organized by the Chinese Cultural Center and is being taught by Chinese ceramic artist Li Hong Liang.
 
After nine of the 11 classes being run by the workshop, she says the Egyptian artists have responsed enthusiastically, and some are already skilled enough to compete.
   
男SOUNDBITE 1: LI HONGLIANG, Chinese ceramic artist:
"China's ceramic art is quite famous in the world while Egypt's has quite a long history. Egypt's ancient ceramic art has its own unique charm. But the artists from the two countries use different ways to do their work, for example, the material they used and the firing temperature are not the same. So that's why China and Egypt need to make these communications."    
 
Ebtisam Zaki, an amateur artist in her late 50s.
 
When she heard about the workshop, she was keen join, because she had previously lived in China for a while, and is fascinated by Chinese pottery.
   
SOUNDBITE 2: EBTISAM ZAKI, Amateur artist     
"China's ceramic art is so elegant and advanced in terms of the very high quality material including the used clay, the colors, the brushes and tools, which help their production of ceramic works become of highest level."  
   
Ahmed Eid, a ceramic artist attending the workshop, hailed the project, saying it helped the two peoples share their cultures.
   
SOUNDBITE 3: AHMED EID, Ceramic artist
"We are happy with this cooperation with China and the exchange of the culture heritage between Egypt and China. We hope to develop this cooperation and hold more of suchlike workshops with a larger scale to introduce the heritage of both nations to the youth of China and Egypt." 
   
 
Some 30 minutes away from the center lies the two-story building of Talaat Harb Cultural Center.
 
Over 30 children gathered at a large round table in a small room painting small size figures of clay animals.
   
SOUNDBITE 1: DU SHAOYUN, Chinese clay formation artist:
"The Egyptian children are very cute and friendly, they love the clay formation art very much.I will do my best to teach them the art course. Also I'm willing to come to Egypt next time to teach them more about the art." 
 
10-year-old Mariam Mohamed is painting a little clay panda she made. It's just one of a few animals she would like to make.
   
SOUNDBITE 2: MARIAM MOHAMED, Young artist:
"When I joined, I really learned a lot of things. I learned how to shape a panda, a rabbit and many other animals with clay. We also made a figurine of the Sphinx, the ancient hawk, and many other things."
   
The event has proved tremendous success. 
 
Originally capacity was set at only 10 to 15. But it was so popular that 30 are here today.
   
SOUNDBITE 3: KARIMA AHMED, Director of Talaat Harb Cultural Center
"The workshop is about formation of clay coming from Upper Egypt's Aswan, and we're happy with the presence of Chinese artist Du Shaoyun with us. He introduced to our children a new art and culture, which is very good for the Egyptian-Chinese culture exchange and for introducing a new culture to our children."