Bringing the Text to Life
Auguste Rodin once said, “The world doesn’t lack beauty of life, only the eyes to see it.”
Or, we might add, the desire to dig for it.
Take the beauty of trees, for example. While many artists in North America are looking upward and painting the fiery beauty of autumn leaves this time of year, in China an artist named Fang Peichun is out in the forest looking down, crawling on his hands and knees, looking for beauty in the tangle of tree roots.
Fang, you see, is a root-carver, following an ancient Chinese tradition of coaxing art from a part of the natural world that everyone else ignores. Out there in the forest, Fang sees hidden beauty where others see dirt. “The period of searching for tree roots is the most exciting part for me,” says the energetic old man. “Sometimes I even dream of finding some tree roots in strange shapes and have some illusions.”
Fang has been carving roots for more than 50 years. He began his obsession with roots when,...