An inheritor of ancient boat making techniques

By Xu Lin and Hu Meidong ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-06-20 09:04:01

An inheritor of ancient boat making techniques

Villagers pray for blessings by burning joss sticks. [Photo by Lin Ruihong/China Daily]

In the past, vessel makers were often illiterate and started to learn the craft when they were in their early teens. Zheng Shuitu is no exception. But he is the only one who can read his ancestors' hand-drawn blueprints of 16 kinds of cargo ships, fishing vessels and passenger boats made from 1919 to 1937.

The drawings have design photos, measurements and a special language created by ship makers in line with the southern Fujian dialect. It's very precious and helps experts to know more about the boat making industry.

However, the future of the dockyard is uncertain. It's said that as the local government will reconstruct Yuegang to restore its heyday as a port of the Marine Silk Road, the shipyard may face demolition.

"The shipyard represents Yuegang's brilliant port history. I hope I can keep it and cooperate with the government to showcase the boat making techniques and Yuegang's port culture," Zheng Shuitu says.

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