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Abibulla: Use fire as ink and soldering iron as brush to paint a new life

A gourd, a soldering iron, the outline of the scene gradually appears on the gourd with wisps of smoke and scorch as the soldering iron touches down. Sitting in front of the workbench, Abibulla Remaiti is concentrating on his work with a pyrography pen. Behind him, there is a wide variety of gourds and gourd pyrography works in different forms and contents. Flowers, birds, landscapes, etc., all are lifelike, and all seem ready to come out at one's call.

Photo taken on May 16, 2022 shows Abibulla concentrates on his work with a pyrography pen. (Shiliuyun/ Xinjiang Daily Han Qinyan)

Abibulla, a villager of Zanbilitayake Village in Alapu Township, Shule County, Kashgar Prefecture, northwest China’s Xinjiang, was engaged in decoration and farming on 60 mu of land in the past. In 2011, he was paralyzed due to a traffic accident. Later, with the encouragement of his family and the help of the village committee, Abibulla started to create a new life with gourd as "paper" and soldering iron as "pen".

Although he was often burned at the beginning, with his never-give-up spirit, Abibulla finally learned to control the temperature of the soldering iron, the strength, speed and angle of touching down.

“Pyrograph, seemingly simple, is very complicated to make. It is important to be in a quiet environment when painting, otherwise the painting is not refined without a calm mind.”

By Abibulla's hand, an ordinary gourd becomes a work of art.

“The price of gourd pyrograph is generally 250 yuan to 3000 yuan. The price is different according to different production processes,” Abibulla said. His net income from making gourd pyrographs is nearly 50,000 yuan a year.

Photo taken on May 16, 2022 shows Adil Ubul learns gourd pyrography skills from Abibulla. (Shiliuyun/ Xinjiang Daily Han Qinyan)

In 2021, with the help of the Shule County Bureau of Culture and Tourism, Abibulla opened a Fulurenjia agritainment with the theme of making gourd pyrograph.

“During this time, we are making an order of gourds to Hami City.” said Adil Ubul, a villager who learns to make gourd pyrograph from Abibulla, “We have signed sales contracts with customers in Urumqi, Hami and Kashgar, and we are also selling on Taobao live room.”

“I can make nearly 300 gourd pyrographs a year,” Abibulla said, “and I will continue to make gourd pyrograph, because it is also the inheritance and development of excellent traditional culture.”

In addition, Abibulla also teaches two young villagers to make gourd pyrograph. “I hope that more people can feel the charm of Chinese traditional folk arts and crafts through my effort and I'll teach anyone who wants to learn for free.” Abibulla said.