A 77-year-old retiree in Shanghai’s Minhang district has attracted attention online for his decade-long hobby of painting ornate Peking opera masks on delicate eggshells.
Fei Yongquan’s living room showcases boxes upon boxes of his fragile works of art, appearing almost like a museum.
Fei has had a fascination with Beijing Opera since he was young. He’d previously taught mechanic classes at a technical school, but after retiring, had extra time on his hand to pursue his interests in the traditional art.
He often made visits to the Beijing Opera Theater, but because of his Zhejiang accent, wasn’t able to master the performance. He decided to direct his energy towards producing beautiful reproductions of the famous opera masks.
Fei learned eggshell painting on his own, although it took him around five years to really perfect the craft.
For the past 10 years, eggshells, brushes and paints accompany Fei at all times. He said he’s almost reproduced all of the famous Beijing Opera characters.
“I thought of using other materials, but eggshells are more similar to people’s face shapes and the results look better,” he said, adding that for the past 10 years, his family has had to eat a lot of egg meals with him.
Fei never sells his work and only gives the eggshells away to friends as gifts. He now volunteers at a local community center teaching the art of eggshell painting.
[Images via ntpic.cn]
By Maggie Wong