WildChina Explorer Grant Proposal: Searching for the Scholar’s Four Treasures

WildChina > WildChina Explorer Grant > WildChina Explorer Grant Proposal: Searching for the Scholar’s Four Treasures

Below is a blog written by WildChina Explorer Grant Applicant E. Briel about her idea for exploring China. If you think her idea is cool show your support on our Pinterest, Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook pages.

I moved to China this year to explore art and to find people who make The Scholars’ Four Treasures (paper, ink, brushes, and ink stones) These artisans’ skills are not being continued by the younger generation. They’re in danger of extinction. I‘ve been recording the stories of the people who make them, and what they’re made from.

(Song Dynasty paintbrushes in Sichuan)


Next summer I hope to explore northern China and document how people make the Four Treasures, for a book and videos. How will I get there? Good question!Exploration is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

(Yellow weasel whose tail is used for paintbrushes)

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Because there’s a lot of pollution in China, I’m really excited to mix art with science in a travel experiment: working with engineers to design an electric bike that will push the limits of solar-powered travel.

(An artist paints at the Thangka Academy in Shangri-la)

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This will be a Pedelec-type hybrid electric bike with either a continuous solar self-charging battery trailer, or several solar charged batteries] Travel lets you get close to wildlife And meet some interesting people like artists who make their own brushes and paints from ancient recipes. I hope that by sharing their work, they – and we – can keep these arts alive for future generations in China.

(E. Briel sun burnt at Napahai lake in Shangri-la, Yunnan)

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The journey will begin on an electric bike in Beijing, and end on a train in far west China. I’ll skirt the deserts of Inner Mongolia, descend through Tibetan areas of Gansu and Qinghai provinces, and talk to papermakers in Xinjiang.

See you on the road!


To find out more about our WildChina Explorer Grant check out the contest’s official page on our website.

Photos by E. Briel

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