Reinventing China's olden arches

Updated: Nov 28, 2023 By XU FAN CHINA DAILY Print
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Zeng Jiakuai leads the construction of covered bridges. He is a provincial-level inheritor of "beam-weaving "techniques. CHINA DAILY

Ancient becomes new

With the centuries-old relics now well-preserved, the traditional skills and expertise needed to build and design covered bridges is attracting the interest of a new generation of carpenters. Over the past two decades, six teams comprised of around 100 craftsmen have been set up around the country and have built 46 new covered bridges.

Zeng Jiakuai, a provincial-level inheritor of "beam-weaving "techniques, leads one of the teams. It's a traditional method that involves interweaving and fastening multiple layers of wooden beams to create a single, strong and stable structure.

Born into a family of carpenters in Taishun, Zeng started learning to build wooden structures when he was 18 and began exploring wooden arch bridge construction techniques when he was 29.

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