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Dear Reader,

(including all its subsidiary (and/or sister) pages on "coombs.anu.edu.au" server) has permanently ceased its publishing operations on Friday 21st January 2011.

All of the online resources reported here have been thoroughly checked at the time of their listing. However, it is possible that, with the with the passage of time, many of the originally reported materials might have been removed from the Internet, or changed their online address, or varied the scope and quality of their contents.

Fortunately, in several cases it is possible to access many of the older versions of the resources listed in the MONITOR. This can be easily done via the free services of the "The Internet Archive" http://web.archive.org/, a remarkable brainchild of Brewster Kahle, San Francisco, CA.

- with warm regards -

Editor, Dr T. Matthew Ciolek.

Canberra, 21 January 2011.

12 August 2009

[Itinerant] Chinese Tinkers


03 Aug 2009

Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), Copenhagen, Denmark.

"Hello - Some of you may be interested in this short article about the itinerant Chinese tinkers who repaired cast iron woks, melting iron in a tiny furnace and applying it to holes and cracks. - Regards, Donald B Wagner, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen."

"The cast iron wok is one of the wonders of traditional Chinese technology - to see how they they were cast, see here. [The casting of iron woks in Guangdong, China, in 1840', Poster presentation Founders, smiths and platers: International Conference on metal forming and finishing from the earliest times Oxford, 20-24 September, 1999, http://www.staff.hum.ku.dk/dbwagner/wok/wok.html - ed.]. With its use follows another wonder: the itinerant tinker who repairs broken woks with molten iron from a small furnace.
The tinkers were a fascinating sight for foreign visitors in China, and we have some excellent detailed descriptions of their work from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. I have copied the best of these below.
In Guangzhou in the 18th and 19th centuries several large studios mass-produced souvenir paintings for sale to foreign visitors. The painting reproduced immediately below is a gouache from one of these studios showing a tinker at work.
I was amazed and pleased when my friend Liu Peifeng recently showed me the photograph by Pei Chishan shown further below, which shows a tinker with his equipment in 2006."

Site contents:
* [A tinker at work] - a gouache painting by an unknown Chinese artist in Guangzhou, mid-19th century.
* [A tinker at work] - a colour photograph by Pei Chishan in Zezhou, Shanxi, April 2006.
* The earliest description of the traditional technique of wok-repair - a 1795 account by the Dutch diplomat Van Braam.
* 'Chinese Mode of Repairing Cracked or Broken Vessels of Cast Iron' - an account by the American Consul in Singapore, Joseph Balestier, in a letter published by the United States Patent Office in 1850.
* 'Chinese method of mending cracked cast-iron vessels' - an account by John Percy, Metallurgy: The Art of Extracting Metals from their Ores, and Adapting them to Various Purposes of Manufacture. [Vol. 2:] Iron; Steel, London 1864.
* 'Mending of Cast Iron' - an account by Rudolf P. Hommel, China at work: An Illustrated Record of the Primitive Industries of China's Masses, whose Life is Toil, and thus an Account of Chinese Civilization, New York 1937.

URL http://staff.hum.ku.dk/dbwagner/tinkers/tinkers.html

Internet Archive (web.archive.org) [the article was not archived at the time of this abstract - ed.]

Link reported by: Donald B. Wagner (dwag--at--alum.mit.edu)

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