Central Highland artisan keeps soul of wooden statues

(VOVWORLD) - For more than 30 years, Y Thai Eban of the Ede ethnic group in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, has devoted himself to carving wooden statues. In his skillful hands, wood blocks are turned into works of art. Y Thai Eban is one of a small number of artisans in Dak Lak who are keen on preserving and promoting this traditional craft of the Central Highlands.

Central Highland artisan keeps soul of wooden statues - ảnh 1The "Thay cung" (Sorcerer) statue carved by Y Thai Eban. (Photo: VOV) 

A statue called "Thay cung" (Sorcerer) carved by artisan Y Thai Eban won second prize in a contest organized in the Central Highlands in 2017 by Dak Lak province.

Y Thai Eban has had a passion for wooden statues since he was young. At first, he found it difficult to use the axe and chisel, but he refused to give up. He kept practising until he could create statues that exposed the emotions he felt. His passion is still strong after 30 years.

“Whenever I get an idea, I go to work with the chisel. The craft of wooden statue carving has started to fade. I’m doing my best to preserve it and hand it down to the next generation,” said Y Thai Eban.

Each statue Y Thai Eban makes has a story, based on a folk tale, cultural values, or the daily life of the Ede people. His wife, H Yao Bya, said, “Y Thai Eban can create wooden objects of many different shapes and sizes. He is now teaching our two sons to carve wood statues. We support and encourage his effort to preserve this traditional craft of the Central Highlands.”

Central Highland artisan keeps soul of wooden statues - ảnh 2Y Thai Eban and some of his wooden statues. (Photo: VOV)

Y Thai Eban became famous when he took part in the first sculpture contest of wooden statues held in 2015 in the Central Highlands.

Since then, he has won prizes at other wood carving contests. Y Thai Eban says he is ready to help anyone who wants to get involved in the craft.

Bui Van Huong of Buon Ma Thuot city, says Y Thai Eban has made a great contribution to preserving the culture of the Ede people.

“Y Thai Eban is doing his best to preserve and promote wooden statue carving, and wants to make it a popular tourism product. He is by far the most skillful carver of wooden statues. Local authorities have consistently supported and encouraged his efforts,” said Huong.