A zipper runs along a 40-centimeter-tall porcelain vase, with its top slightly open. The art piece, not originally designed that way, has been repaired by Nie Chao.
Nie, 41, is an inheritor of Zibo-style ceramic-mending from the city in Shandong province. Each tooth of the zipper was handmade and tapped onto the vase by Nie. It took him around a month to finish the work.
He named it Puyun ("appeal of simplicity"), inspired by the traditional Chinese dress, qipao. He has made the static vase look like a movable dress in the wind.
Nie recalls that he found the vase in a broken state at a friend's house and thought of how to repair it with modern skills.
"The zipper is a modern industrial product, and I thought combining it with our traditional porcelain-repairing techniques would be a good representation of both," he says.
The repaired vase won Nie the new talent award at the Baihe Cup, an art and craft design and innovation competition, where more than 3,000 pieces or sets of work were shown. The competition was held during the second edition of the China Arts and Crafts Expo in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, in September 2021.