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The Standard Set of Carpentry Tools Used in Gansu Province of China

  • Li Hui
    Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties

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Other Title
  • 中国甘粛省の大工道具


A survey was conducted in 2015 on the carpentry tools used in the province of Gansu, China, following the 2014 survey in Shanxi province, in attempt to investigate and compare with the 2013 survey results on the carpentry tools used at the Maintenance Center of the Palace Museum. This survey focuses on the tools of 3 carpenters of Yongjing County and 1 carpenter of Dunhuang City. This article reports the following 4 main discoveries from the Gansu survey. 1. The standard set of carpentry tools used in Gansu contains 38~49 types of tools, which differs among different carpenters. Fewer tools were used in Gansu than at the Maintenance Center of the Palace Museum(54 types) ; however, it contains the main tools like saws, planes and chisels, same as Shanxi. 2. The standard set of carpentry tools is almost the same through out Gansu, though it crosses more than 1,600km from the east to the west. And since the carpenters of Yongjing county contract for most of the repair work of historical buildings in Gansu, it shows the present carpentry situation of the province. 3. As the same as Shanxi, there is no clear distinction between the carpentry work and the joinery work in Gansu, though they were clearly separated at the Palace Museum. It shows a feature that local areas' carpenters have a preference for tools which are easy to carry out and could be used in multiple ways. 4. It is found that carpenters of Gansu use many kinds of gravers and most carpenters live by building normal houses including making doors, windows and even furniture. This may be resulted from that there are few wooden historical buildings in Gansu.



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