Metal forging process is one of the traditional metal processes in China. The craftsmen cut gold, silver, copper and other metal materials into round plates, and forged them into vessels through the malleability of metal. With the development of metal forging technology in the Tang Dynasty, both the shape of the artifacts, the fine workmanship and the gorgeous decoration of the artifacts reached an unprecedented height. The inherited metal forging technology is rare among the Han people, while it has been thriving in minority areas such as the Bai people in Yunnan and the Tibetan people in Tibet, and has formed a unique traditional handicraft. Tools for metal forging process mainly include: hammer (different shapes and sizes), anvil, furnace, bellows, pliers, all kinds of chisels, vice, spray gun, welding gun, crucible, etc. In addition, there are various casting copper molds, multi-function files, large and small iron sheet scissors, long handle wire brushes, etc. The main tools for metal forging process are: hammer (different shapes and sizes), anvil, furnace, bellows, pliers, various chisels, vises, spray gun, welding gun, crucible, etc. In addition, there are various casting copper molds, multi-function files, large and small iron sheet scissors, long handle wire brushes, etc.
At present, the metal forging process of stainless steel sculpture manufacturers has made great progress on the basis of inheriting the traditional forging process, mainly reflected in the changes in the process caused by the improvement of production tools. For example, the Bai craftsmen learned to use air hammers to preliminarily forge shapes. Modern advanced tools are used to serve the traditional process and improve the production efficiency. The traditional manual forging process is mainly divided into three processes:
1、 Hand forged initial shape
According to the shape and size of the utensil, it is necessary to cut a round metal plate that is suitable for the shape and size of the utensil, and forge it to make it the initial blank of the utensil. That is, place the round metal plate on the anvil, adjust the forging force and the angle of inclination, and forge the round metal plate evenly while rotating. If one or two parts are forged too much, the thickness of the metal plate will be uneven, and even the possibility of cracking will occur. Other places may also cause cracks to roll, and the edge of vessels may be uneven. In the process of forging, attention should also be paid to annealing to soften the hardness and prevent cracking during re forging.
2、 Hand forging forming
After the initial blank of the vessel is formed, the concrete shape transition shall be forged with anvils of different specifications, which requires careful forging. Manual forging is also to use hammers to forge while rotating the utensils. Different shapes of utensils use different hammers and anvils. Some hammers are used to locate the shape, some are used to hammer the turning surface, and some are used to arrange the details. The use of anvil is also the same. Each type of anvil is used differently. The important tool for hand forging is a wooden anvil, which requires the craftsman’s skill to use tools with ease. The edge is forged with a hammer. Different shapes of vessels use different hammers and anvils. Some hammers are used to locate the shape, some are used to hammer the turning surface, and some are used to sort out the details. The use of anvil is the same, and each type of anvil is used differently. The important tool for hand forging is the wooden anvil, which requires the skillful craftsman to use tools with ease.
3、 Process effect treatment and component welding
The process effect mainly refers to the process treatment of the surface of the utensil, including carving lines, decorating traditional patterns, making relief effects, etc. Others use forging hammer to point the texture, which is natural and simple, and has a strong natural flavor, such as Tibetan butter teapots and water tanks forged by the Bai nationality coppersmith. After processing the process effect, in the overall design, the accessories of the utensils such as the cover, handle, mouth, etc. are made and welded. As a traditional handicraft, the process flow of the metal forging process is certainly not as simple as recorded. It requires the craftsman to practice and become skilled for a long time. It has a long history through generations of inheritance, which not only shows the rich experience accumulated by the predecessors, but also reflects the diligence and innovation of the future.
The metal forging process makes use of the malleability of metal, so its vessels are full in shape and full of tension. They are not only practical, but also beautiful, and have more vitality in artistic expression. Similarly, decorative patterns are also an important part of metal forging process. The development of forged products and the constant changes of their decorative patterns have always been affected by customs and culture, so the decorative patterns on metal forging products are also taking the status of living fossils as an important object of studying the development of national culture. The prosperity of Buddhist culture in the Tang Dynasty made the forged gold and silver wares full of honeysuckle patterns, lotus patterns, curly grass patterns and treasure phase patterns, which were single patterns, continuous in two directions or continuous in four directions. Various natural patterns and traditional auspicious patterns have also been handed down, giving vessels more symbolic meanings and cultural connotations. During the field investigation in Xinhua Village and Potouyi, Heqing, Yunnan Province, the author found that every household in the Bai and Tibetan areas was forging silver and bronze vessels. Almost all the elderly and teenagers knew this craft. In the process of continuation, advanced tools and technologies such as “air hammer” were used to serve the traditional craft, forging pots, basins, bowls Ladles and other living articles with strong traditional ambiguities, stainless steel art sculptures and so on.
In contemporary art colleges and universities, many teachers with national consciousness and sense of responsibility are also continuing to inherit the metal forging process, using ancient technology to design modern utensils. They are thinking about how to inherit the national traditional excellent craft and art aesthetic form and content, and establish the education system of traditional craft research and modern silver design. They not only mastered the skills of metal forging technology, but also continued the spiritual connotation of the technology from the culture. They played a special role in carrying forward the national traditional culture and exploring how to provide cultural accumulation for modern sculpture design.