Twelve bronze sculpture molds were smashed to pieces by their creators during a ceremony on July 30 to show the artists' resolve in protecting copyrights.
The event in Yichuan county was part of Henan province's first sculpture show that started in February. Technicians made the molds with resin or silica gel based on clay or gesso models made by sculptors.
"If the molds are destroyed, we can never make exactly the same wax patterns for casting, which means we will never replicate the identical sculptures," said Wang Shengli, chairman of Jiamei Handicrafts Co Ltd.
The privately owned company was one of the organizers of the exhibition and was responsible for casting the sculptures.
"Making molds is the first step in making bronze sculptures," Wang said. "The casters put tremendous effort into achieving great charm in the final works."
Two county notaries were on hand to supervise the mold-smashing ceremony and certify the destruction.
"As a matter of fact, I feel very sad to see the molds smashed," said sculptor Yu Xiaoming, vice-director of Zhengzhou Sculpture and Fresco Institute. But along with many other sculptors and technicians, he did not hesitate to swing a hammer.
The mold of Yu's work Heavy Snow was one of those destroyed.
Another local sculptor, Yang Zhiqiang, said that the market for bronze sculptures is becoming increasingly popular and fashionable among Chinese collectors.
"But at the same time, all kinds of copycat products have emerged to confuse collectors," he said. "And the artists who created the original work find it difficult to defend against."
Protecting the intellectual property rights of artists by destroying molds was a new initiative in Henan, but it is a common practice to ensure the number and authenticity of cast sculptures in Europe and the United States, where the markets are mature, Yu said.
In addition, Yu believes that the approach also protects the interests of collectors, and will help casting companies "upgrade from simply product copiers to artwork creators".
Cui Changsheng, one of the notaries on the scene, said Jiamei Handicrafts actually destroyed "what can make money for them".
"It shows foresight among the company's executives," he said.
(Source: China Daily)2013-07-17