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Photos|Innovative dragon boats blend tradition with modern aesthetics

As the Dragon Boat Festival draws near, the rivers and lakes of the Pearl River Delta are coming to life, with dragon boats emerging from their slumber to grace the water.

Yang Jinghe

In Diejiao, Nanhai District, the dragon boats are slicing through the waves with vigor, while in Ronggui, Shunde District, they're competing for the title of "The Most Beautiful Boat."In terms of beauty and splendor, Ronggui's dragon boats are second to none," boasts a fervent dragon boat enthusiast.

 The distinctive vibrancy of Ronggui's dragon parade, courtesy of the interviewee

 A dragon boat in Tiffany Blue and Macaron Pink, designed with a feminine touch

This passionate fan is Yang Jinghe, a young inheritor of the ancient art of dragon boat carving. An award-winning designer, Yang has created numerous striking pieces and has been crafting dragon heads and boats for various communities for over a decade.

Upon entering Yang's workshop, visitors are immediately captivated by the vibrant colors and unique shapes of the dragon heads. Some are brilliantly colorful, evoking the image of a dragon piercing through flames; others are elegant and mysterious, with gemstones twinkling on an ivory backdrop; and some are fresh and minimalist, with lively pinks popping against a field of blue.

 The dragon head created for the Liu Rong Temple

When asked about the uniqueness of his creations, Yang Jinghe explains, "In Ronggui, the traditional dragon boat is more than just a vessel; it's a grand form of performance art. While speed is paramount in other regions, leading to simpler designs and lighter boats, Ronggui's festival is all about the parade of dragons, with an emphasis on beauty and grandeur. The boats here are adorned with bright colors and gold, reflecting the community's festive spirit and commemorative ceremony."

 The dragon head named "Yan"

Yang's designs not only incorporate elements from other cultures but also local characteristics. For instance, the dragon head named "Yan," inspired by the "Great Emperor Huaguang," a fire deity in Guangfu folklore, features a flame motif that resonates with a younger audience. Another example is the dragon head crafted for the Liu Rong Temple, which incorporates the banyan trees and water elements, reflecting the temple's history and the nearby "Shusheng Bridge," while maintaining an imperial and commanding presence with its black eyes and beard.

"Just look forward to our new dragon boats this Dragon Boat Festival," Yang Jinghe says with a smile.

Source | Yangcheng Evening News