化腐朽為神奇的雕刻之鄉

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1979 / 9月

文‧王琦榕 圖‧孟慶常


木雕藝品不同於其他材料製作的裝飾品,因為它是由最自然的素材,順應成長的型態,加以手工雕作而成。它往往也不經漆染,就以木頭的本色出現,能散發出非常自然、拙樸和趣味天成的美感。台灣苗栗鄉下有個小城叫三義,素有「雕刻之鄉」的美稱,居民大半以雕刻為生,父以傳子,子以傳孫,一起沉浸在雕刻生涯裡,不斷鑽研,樂此不疲。他們是一群純樸、保守的鄉人,鎮日與木頭、雕刀為伍,執著於自己的工作,不僅大大的改善了生活,也繁榮了地方,更曾創下月收入高達新台幣三千多萬元的記錄。


到處可見木雕痕

木刻,在中國悠久的歷史堙A不像金銅玉石般有顯赫輝煌的歷史,它不曾用於朝廷的記功頌德,也不曾用來顯示達官貴人的身份,更不曾被文人、雅士列入表現藝術的範疇。但是,它經得起時間的考驗,數千年來,默默的存在於每個人的生活中,大至亭台樓榭,小至日常器皿,都有木刻精工雕琢的痕跡。

發展到今天,木刻已成為藝術表現中重要的一環,和其他種類的雕刻並列。而且,雖然出現了鋼鐵、塑膠、壓克力玻璃……等各式各樣的製作材料,木刻仍然和大部分人的生活密不可分,特別是裝飾品,需求量更是愈來愈大。豪華的大廳內,喜歡放個大型的木刻屏風,或是展翅欲飛的老鷹;大公司的門口,喜歡放兩具大獅子,或是袒露大肚,笑臉迎人的彌勒佛;連一般的家庭,也喜歡在房間堜餼茪p小的彪馬、老漁翁等木刻品,增添幾分樸雅的氣氛。

中華民國台灣的木刻業相當興盛,其中又以苗栗縣的三義鄉為主要產地,有「雕刻之鄉」的美稱。

一個純樸的小鎮

三義鄉位於苗栗縣的南端,南面隔著大安溪和台中縣為界,東、西、北三面不是丘陵,就是山坡,大安溪畔也有座土色褐紅的火炎山。從飛機上俯瞰,整個三義鄉像個龍舟形的長方盆地。雖然在群山環繞中,三義鄉有鐵路和公路與全台各地聯絡,交通非常方便。

面積僅有六八點三九四平方公里的三義鄉,像大都市一樣,有水電、瓦斯、電話等種種現代化的設備,但和大都市不同的,它是個民風極其純樸敦厚的小鎮。三義鄉共分為七個村,每個村就像個大家庭似的,居民彼此熟悉熱絡,至少也有點頭之交。張家前天來了兩個客人,李家孩子考上大學……第二天就會傳遍全村。外地人一到三義,將會發現大家都在注意著你,因此不但本地的不良份子極少,外來的不良份子也因施展不開而無法立足。

一萬七千的人口中,有百分之七十是客家人,老一輩的,都操客家話,年輕的一輩,除了客家話外,也都能說得一口流利標準的國語。三義鄉在群山環繞下,山多田少,但客家人一向克苦耐勞,極力在工商業方面發展,雕刻業也在他們的努力下發達起來,不僅在國內深受歡迎,也吸引了不少國外訂單和慕名前來的外國觀光客。

雕刻業發展的緣起

說起三義木刻的起源,可以追溯到民國前十年,那時,台灣還處在日據時代。有位姓岡崎的隨日軍來台,因為個子太矮,不能當兵,被征做馬伕。來台灣後,就駐在三義。

有一次,他在三義鄉內到處閒逛,發現三義盛產一種香味奇佳的木材,有人告訴他,這種木材,叫做樟木,可以防蟲蛀。他靈機一動,雇人開採來製作屏風、茶盤、火爐具等木刻品,銷路很好,不過當時買得起的,都是些富豪人家。

後來,岡崎成立「岡崎商社」,招募員工,開始擴大經營木刻工藝品的生產銷售。民國三十四年,抗戰勝利,日軍撤離台灣,三義鄉當地有位年輕的客家人,名叫劉_春,對木刻很有興趣,接下了「岡崎商社」,改名「百吉行」,繼續經營木刻業。雖然曾經遭遇過好幾次難關,但劉_春從不氣餒,他咬緊牙關,愈挫愈奮,終於把公司的經營穩定了下來,也為三義的雕刻業打下基礎。學習木刻技術的人愈來愈多,從事木刻行業的人也愈來愈多,木刻品逐漸打入東南亞和歐美的市場,提高了三義鄉的名聲,富裕了三義鄉的鄉民。

到處都是木頭

在三義鄉縱貫線的中正路兩旁,藝品館林立,有百分之五十以上的居民以經營雕刻業為生。走在三義鄉的街道上,木材的芳香撲鼻而來,映入眼簾的,不是大塊大塊枝椏盤錯尚待雕琢的木頭,就是已經雕好或雕刻了一半展翅欲飛的老鷹、狀欲噬人的老虎、莊嚴肅穆的關公、笑臉迎人的彌勒、怒目而視的雷神、和顏悅色的觀音、威風凜凜的馬匹,以及許許多多小型的擺飾……,令人目不暇給,嘆為觀止。在眾多的藝品館當中,還是以百吉行的規模最龐大,東興行、明興行次之。

三義木刻所採用的木料,以樟木居多,有時也用檜木、檀香木、九骨木等硬度較高的木頭,雕刻一些小型、需要細工的木像。樟木富有濃郁的樟腦味,可以防蟲蛀,而且用來雕刻的樟木,都有一千年以上的樹齡,這樣的樹幹才夠粗,樹根、樹枝才有糾結盤錯的雄姿,最適合拿來雕刻。

木刻在三義盛行了幾十年,當地可用的樟木已經砍伐殆盡,必須仰賴其他地區供應。現在樟木原始林以台東一帶最多,大雪山、阿里山、豐原、南投竹山、竹東……等地也都是樟木的盛產地。

精挑細選買木材

木刻工廠通常開著大卡車,到木料行,或林務局的「土場」——木頭砍伐下來後的第一個集散場,去挑選木材。大型的工廠,花一、二百萬,一次買他幾十卡車的木材,家庭式的小工廠也買個一、二卡車,堆放在那兒,夠他們用上兩、三年,用完後,再去採購。

整棵樹,上自樹枝,下自樹根,都是可以利用的對象。大致說來,可分為三種類型,一是直統統的大塊樹幹,沒有什麼特殊形狀,可以切割成幾塊相同體積的木塊,雕刻同樣的木像;二是弧形的木材,可以用來做屏風,順著上面的龜裂形狀,雕出各式各樣的花紋;三是有天然槎枒形狀的樹枝或樹根,可以根據枝節伸展的形狀,雕成不同姿態的不同動物或人像。

就以老鷹為例,向兩邊斜伸出去的枝椏差不多長時,可以雕隻張翅欲撲的老鷹;如果枝椏一邊長,一邊短時,就雕隻折翼棲息的老鷹;如果樹幹上另突起一塊,那就再雕隻怒目齜牙的老虎,來個鷹虎鬥吧!對雕刻師傅來說,這是最具挑戰性的木刻方式。

乾燥處理是要務

木料運到之後,必須先讓它乾燥,才能長期保存,不會腐爛。大型工廠採用乾燥劑,或是用鍋爐蒸發水氣;家庭式的工廠沒有什麼特殊設備,就乾脆採用自然乾燥法,把木料放在室外,任憑風吹日曬。等水分都蒸發乾了,再噴上亮光漆,這麼一來,隨便存放多久,都沒問題。

木刻也是門大學問,雕刻工具有幾十種之多,光是扁刀就有好幾種,有長、有短、有大、有小,用途都不同。什麼時候該用尖錐,什麼時候該用扁刀,什麼地方該切得深一點,什麼地方該削得淺一點,都需要相當的判斷力,經驗十分重要,至少必須二年以上的鑽研琢磨,才能抓住竅門。

隨著木料形狀來雕刻的師傅,都具有很高的藝術眼光和豐富的想像力。他們面對著木頭,上下左右仔細端詳,腦中靈感即來,拿起棒槌和鑿刀,東挖一塊,西削一刀,就在他們敲敲打打、鑿鑿刻刻中,把一塊塊沒有生命的木頭,蛻變成一個個栩栩如生的人像或是一隻隻唯妙唯肖的動物。通常這種大型的木刻像,必須花上二、三個月才能完成一具。

機器可以幫點忙

至於小型、普遍化的木刻像,比較簡單,一般大工廠都有一種機器,放上木頭,可以依照模型,一次切割出八個同樣大小的粗略形象。雕刻師傅再用手工慢慢雕,有了機器的幫忙,師傅節省了不少精力,至多二、三天就可雕好一具木像。

木像雕完之後,還必須用磨砂紙把粗糙的地方磨光滑。磨完之後,噴上亮光漆,噴了再磨,磨了再噴,這樣重覆兩、三次,最後又用磨砂紙仔細磨過一遍,才算大功告成。

木刻成品的種類相當可觀,有動物、人物、靜物三大類。動物類包括鷲鷹、老虎、獅子、馬、豹、龍、牛、象、猴子、魚等;人物類包括東方的雷神、漁翁、農夫、觀音、彌勒佛、孔子、乾隆帝后、壽星、釋迦牟尼、西方的維納斯等;靜物類包括桌、椅、架子、盤子、花瓶、屏風、面具、飾物箱、刀、劍等,真是多的叫人數都數不清。成品大小相差得十分懸殊,最大的有高九尺、寬七尺、重達五百公斤的老鷹,最小的有一個姆指長的小佛像。價格也隨著雕工精細和成品的大小,從新台幣一、兩百元到二、三十萬元不等。

一生與木雕為伍

雕刻師傅是雕刻業的靈魂,三義鄉的雕刻師傳多半是從小就浸潤在雕刻的環境中,跟隨著老一輩的師傅學習,敲打、雕琢了幾十年,再將自己琢磨得爐火純青的技藝傳授給下一代。

在雕刻項目上,他們多半是各有所專,每家有自己固定的項目。某個人向雕鷹的老師傅學得了雕鷹的技術,終其生,他們就只雕鷹,雕各式各樣的鷹;這樣長期的經驗累積,他們只要一拿起雕刀,動手雕刻,就能夠很自然的把那種氣勢和神韻表現出來。

只要有一技在身,就不用愁生活會發生問題。三義鄉有不少家庭式的工廠,他們自製自銷,利潤極高。至於一般工廠所雇用的雕刻師傅,有按日計酬的,也有按件計酬的,大致說來,每個月都有一萬元以上的收入。許多人工作到五十多歲,錢賺夠了,也有後輩可以接棒了,就退休下來,在家含飴弄孫,好不愜意。

為雕刻而雕刻

但也有些雕刻師傅對木刻有著狂熱的愛好,他們不只是為謀生而雕刻,雕刻已成為他們生命中的一部分。東興行有位六十歲左右的老師傅,日據時代就學會了雕刻,也迷上了雕刻,台灣光復後,他到鐵路局工作,閒暇時,仍不忘拿起雕刀劈劈鑿鑿,從工作中獲取難以言喻的滿足感。

不久前,他從鐵路局退休了,獲得一筆可觀的退休金,足以讓他後半輩子生活無憂,而且他的子女也已長大成人,但是他卻捨不得放下握了幾十年的雕刀和棒槌,捨不得離開帶給他無窮樂趣的雕刻。望著他戴著老花眼鏡,埋首雕刻一具威武的關公像,那副專注的神情,實在令人感動。

三義大部分的木刻成品都是外銷,民國六十年到六十二年左右是高峰季節,那時整個三義鄉月入新台幣三千萬元以上。近兩年,受到石油危機的衝擊,銷數稍微下降,不過情況還是很樂觀,以規模最大的百吉行為例,他們每年的外銷總額仍然高達二百五十萬元美金。

與人們的生活緊相結合

台灣、日本、歐美都是三義木刻的外銷市場,可是每個市場的需求都不相同。

台灣的顧客多半把木刻藝品當做應景的裝飾品,喜歡在親友長輩過生日時,送具壽星祝壽;馬年時,買匹馬,虎年時,買隻老虎,或送給親友,或自己擺在家裡觀賞。

日本是三義木刻的最大外銷市場,那兒的顧客喜歡日本神像、觀音、佛像以及大型的動物。

歐美的顧客又不同了,他們喜歡具有中國風味的木刻品,譬如乾隆帝后、農夫、漁翁、孔子、屏風等。

現在,木刻已是廣受人喜愛的一種藝術品。一具木刻擺飾,正像一幅字畫一樣,能襯得一室古樸典雅。在經濟富裕的今天,木刻藝品的需求量愈來愈大。幾十年來,三義木刻在國內外已成為響亮的招牌,今後,它也將繼續在人們的精神生活中扮演一個重要的角色。

〔圖片說明〕

P.36

上:木刻工廠從「土場」——木材砍伐下來後的第一個集散地,買回好幾卡車的木料,堆積在那兒,隨時取用。右:三十歲左右的年輕師傅就能刻鑿出栩栩如生的鷹虎鬥。

P.37

三義鄉的全貌。

P.40

1.三義鄉規模龐大的藝品館。2.3.雕刻工廠內,師傅們聚精會神的工作著。

P.42、P.43

1.釋迦牟尼。2.乾隆帝后。3.5.笑臉迎人的彌勒佛。4.老漁翁。6.墨斗。7.坐釋迦。

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EN

Woodcarving - Familiar and Durable Art


Compared with gold, bronze, jade or stone, woodcarving has played a relatively modest and mundane role in Chinese art history. It was never used to record or glorify the achievements of a royal household, or to raise the status of nobility or high-ranking officials, but woodcarving has in many ways stood the test of time. For thousands of years it has been part of daily life, whether incorporated into architecture or used to make a host of exquisitely sculpted utensils and household decorative items.

Today, woodcarving is as popular as ever, with large screens, spread eagles, miniature horses and aged fishermen being among typical themes.

While woodcarving is a prosperous industry in many parts of Taiwan, the main center is undoubtedly Sanyi village in Miaoli County, known as the "village of woodcarving" among local people. Surrounded by mountains, Sanyi is nevertheless well-served by road and railway connections. Even though it is equipped with modern facilities such as water, electricity, gas and telephone, Sanyi still retains much of its former simplicity and charm. Of the 17,000 population, 70 percent are Hakka. Although most of the older people only speak Hakka, young people are also fluent in Mandarin Chinese, the national language of the Republic of China. The Hakkas are a thrifty and industrious people whose consistent efforts have won domestic and foreign markets for their woodcarving.

The history of the woodcarving industry in Sanyi can be traced back to 1901 when Okazaki came to Taiwan with a group of Japanese soldiers. One day, as he was strolling through Sanyi village, he learned that the fragrant camphor tree abounding in the area was pest-resistant. This gave him the inspiration to fashion the wood into all kinds of utensils such as screens, trays and figures. Later, the "Okazaki Trading Society" was established to sell exquisite wood artifacts to wealthy people in the area. When the Sino-Japanese War ended in 1945, Okazaki returned with his soldiers back to Japan, and the trading society was taken over by Liu I-chun, a local resident. Though he encountered repeated setbacks in the initial stage, Liu has never been discouraged in his pursuit. Finally, the new "Paichi Hung (Shop)" was established, which in turn, laid the foundation for further development in the woodcarving industry in Sanyi. Nowadays, numerous wood sculpture shops line Chungcheng Road, the main thoroughfare in Sanyi village, and more than 50 percent of the local inhabitants are engaged in the business.

Camphor wood comprises the bulk of the raw material for the woodcarving industry, although cypress, sandalwood and juniper are used to carve some miniature and delicate figurines. Camphor trees, with 1,000-year history in Taiwan, are particularly suitable for the woodcarving industry, not only because of their resistance to pests, but also because of their thick trunks and the attractive appearance of their gnarled roots and branches. After continuous exploitation over the past years, the trees around Sanyi are now almost completely exhausted. The raw materials, there fore, have to be brought in from the virgin forests in Taitung, Tahsuehshan, Alishan, Fengyuan and Chushan. Woodcarvers order truckloads of wood from Tuchang, the trading center set up by the Forestry Bureau of the Republic of China.

The camphor tree, from its branches down to its roots, can be used in its entirety by the woodcarving industry. The cylindrical shape of the trunks means they can be cut into identical segments for fashioning into the sets of products. Curved parts can be carved into screens, while twisted or gnarled branches can be shaped into the forms of animals or human figures.

After being transported, the wood must first be dried and sprayed with varnish to preserve it. Woodcarving is a profound art. It takes at least two years for disciples to master the use of dozens of different carving implements. The masters must also have high artistic taste and imagination, so that with only a hammer and a chisel, they can shape the lifeless wood into animated and lifelike figures or animals. Usually, it takes about two to three months to fashion a large size artifact, and two to three days to complete a miniature figurine.

After preliminary carving work is completed, sand paper and paint is applied twice to three times to finish and polish the products. Sizes range from 9 feet by 7 feet to the dimensions of a thumb, while prices range from NT$100 or 200 to NT$200,000 or 300,000 a piece. Most of the sculptures are for export, and the most thriving period for the trade was from 1971 to 1973 when the village's monthly income amounted to NT$30 million (US$750,000). The energy crisis has slightly reduced the export volume, but prospects are still promising. The Paichi Hung, largest store in this village, for example, enjoys an annual export value of US$2.5 million. In May 1976, Premier, now President Chiang Ching-kuo visited Sanyi to encourage the sculptors in their promotion of the local woodcarving art, and praise them for earning foreign exchange for the country.

The U.S., Canada, Japan and European countries are the main markets for Taiwan's wood sculptures. Decorative artifacts account for the bulk of sales in Taiwan, while Japanese style figurines, and masks, goddesses, Buddha figures and large animals are most popular in Japan. European and American buyers prefer wood sculptures with a Chinese flavor, such as ancient Chinese emperors, empresses, farmers, fishermen and representations of the greatest Chinese sage, Confucius. Folding wooden fans are also popular items.

[Picture Caption]

Above, woodcarvers order truckloads of wood from Tuchang, the trading center set up by the Forestry Bureau; right, a young master carving a lifelike sculpture of an eagle pitted against a tiger.

A panoramic view of Sanyi village.

Inside wood sculpture shops, the grand masters concentrate on their work.

From left: The sculptures of Sakyamuni, emperor and empress Chien Lung, ear-to-ear grinning Maitreya, an aged fisherman, an array of Maitreya, ink trough used by carpenters to draw a straight line, and a sitting Sakyamuni.

 

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