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Calabash, or hulu in Chinese, is one of the first cultivated plants in the world. In the old days, doctors in China believed hulu to be a traditional medicine. Dried calabash is also used to contain liquids, often liquors or medicine. Nowadays, hulu is more used as a decoration, upon which artists would draw different patterns.
Ju De Tang is such a calabash-carving studio. Upon my visit, I saw that its owner, Guo Jude, was a winner of 4th China Gift Designing Contest. Mr. Guo told me his life has become much busier since then. He has been invited to draw and carve over sixty images of ambassadors and leaders from other countries. And he¡¯s even taken in some students. I felt happy for him, knowing that years of hard work and dedication really paid off.
You would find a large variety of gourds inside the shop in various sizes. For smaller carvings, Mr Guo could finish within 2 hours, and it only costs RMB 50. But for the large one, due to the rarity of the material and the complexity of the art, it could cost over a thousand RMBs.
You can bargain a little bit, but it is not really customary.
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