Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knives in The News Feb.3, 2012

Maestro WU made the News again!

Zeit Online, a German news site just did an article on Kin Men and focused on Maestro Wu:

http://www.zeit.de/2011/46/Taiwan-Meister-Wu

Page two of the article has even more about Maestro Wu.

Here is the weak, yet tolerable Google translation:

The diameter of Master Wu

What is on the Taiwanese island of Kinmen a decades-old conflict into a tourist attraction.

It looks like a scene from an absurd theater piece: Among the marching orders of the commander bellowed six uniformed men and women in lockstep on a huge cannon to. Together they carry a stretcher, is on – nothing. In their minds, and in the audience but they carry a heavy artillery shell, which they then kneel, they introduce into the gun by means of synchronous arm movement, and – accompanied by a loud bang from the speakers – fire. In the direction of China.

Only a few kilometers of sea separating the small island of Kinmen to Taiwan proper from the Fujian province in mainland China. Should it occur to one big, weird brother to incorporate the “renegade province” of Taiwan by military means, Kinmen would be back first thing in the scope. It would not be the first time
About a million shells fired the People’s Republic of China in the course of two decades on Kinmen. After a first wave in spring 1958 with live ammunition, the shells were filled later with propaganda leaflets. Twenty years of fighting the two countries are in a bizarre ritual: On odd days of shelling China, the island, on even days were firing the Taiwan armed forces of Kinmen back out – again with propaganda grenades, the contents of the political achievements, material and especially the praised Taiwan’s advantage over the People’s Republic. At that time the island was like a fortress, always ready to repel desires of the mainland.

Since the relations between Taiwan and China have expanded in the nineties, but has the climate changed to Kinmen. A large part of the army has been withdrawn. Some of the underground, deep into the granite island blown up military installations are released today as a tourist attraction for visitors. And the cast of the shell-enactment are not real soldiers, but student athletes, to earn the four performances a day in some money. With guests from around 230 kilometers from the main island of Taiwan, the spectacle is very popular, but more and more tourists come to the People’s Republic of China.

The former enemies even closer – in very practical terms. Day after day ten vessels operate between Kinmen and Fujian Province. The crossing takes just under an hour. The former provincial city Xiamen on the other side has emerged as a major metropolis. From the beaches of Kinmen can be seen in the distant haze grow the impressive skyline of the city. For residents of Xiamen, the island offers a welcome opportunity for day trips into the countryside. It is estimated that clean air, the old architecture and the famous sorghum liquor. Kinmen residents use the ferry, however, to go shopping and to schuppern urban air. All very peaceful and civil, so it seems. Yet visitors from the mainland ferry terminal are still welcomed in the Armed: the cute, smiling cartoon silhouette target with machine guns.

As if in a trance Wu weighs back and forth as he grinds the blank

The conflict has left its mark, and they are nowhere more palpable than in the blacksmith shop of the island Tseng-dong Wu, stainless projectiles, remnants of war days, made into knives. The idea came from his father, Chao-Hsi Wu, who learned his craft even during the Qing Dynasty on the mainland. During the Japanese occupation from 1937 to 1945 Kinmen drove the chronic shortage of material to the blacksmith and his ten-member family to the brink of ruin. And so began the resourceful Chao-Hsi Wu, part of Allied bombs that rained down during the Second World War on the island to use as a raw material for his tools and kitchen knives. Soon, even that source dried up. Until the Chinese “People’s Liberation Army, the island” in 1958 was under attack.

Be consumed by the remains of the following material battle son Tseng-dong Wu today. We meet him at work in his workshop, a small hall with a brick oven ru├č├╝berzogenen and a shrine with incense sticks to the wall. “He’s” the owner of this place, says Wu – meaning the local spirit, without which no blessing would be on its activities. The smith, a tall lanky wearing jeans and apron. Viewed from the side, he looks as thin as his knife blades, but his vice-handshake reveals immediately the craftsman.

In order to forge a knife, he cuts with the torch a piece of metal from one of the projectiles, which already has the shape of the blade and handle. In coal bed of the furnace, he brings it to glow, then hammering the narrow one Master Wu for his work, that the only way stieben spark across the room. The cut is ultimately the decisive factor: As in a trance, Wu weighs back and forth, while the blank on his lap to the grindstone rotating leads and approach grinds to a radio beam to the perfect sharpness.

Since the age of six has Tseng-dong Wu helped his father at work – like all his seven siblings. “First I have served as a youngster the bellows for the fire, which made me very proud,” he says. Gradually he learned to his brothers and all the steps. “The finished blades were hanging for sale on the workshop wall. Customers have always chosen my “The reason. Wu worked slower than his brothers, but incomparably more precise.

At age 16 he dropped out of school, although he would have liked to study. But his talent for forging a particularly fine blade was obvious, and the family should be maintained. Sun-Dong Wu Tseng acquiesced – the right decision, as he says today. Initially, the grateful soldiers stationed on Kinmen purchasers of his goods. But the boom began only in the nineties, when the tourists came. Wu’s reputation got around – in the catering trade, with foreign visitors, in the media. Finally, the knife master built around a portion of his workshop to the auditorium. Since then his work is like a stage on which the making of his iconic performance blades for is: Here forge a military dominated the history of his island to tourists for a piece of the future.

A consultant advised the Ministry of Industry Wu to establish a trademark that was best in himself So from Tseng-dong Wu “Maestro Wu”. Also embarrassed laugh about the blacksmith. With his 54 years he has maintained a friendly, boyish nature. “The Master is not me, but the customer,” he says. A shot that hits: Wu now supplies to Russia, Italy, France, the United States.

On Kinmen “Maestro Wu has four knife shops” opened. From time to time, he considers his blades also offer there, where his grandfather had once learned the craft: on the mainland. But he shuns the big leap. Wu feels as Taiwan – even though the coast of Fujian is so much closer than the main island of Taiwan, even though his family originally came from the mainland, like most residents of Kinmen.

The houses of the island is the common heritage to be considered. Many settlements are built in traditional Fujian style – and miraculously spared most of the attacks. They lead the visitors still remember how the lives of wealthy Fujianesen the time of the Qing Dynasty was like. The often used term “village” is somewhat misleading – it really is small, walled residences, the wealthy merchants between the 17th and 19th Century were built. With their characteristic swallowtail gables, granite and wood facades seem to be representative, yet modest.

Whoever enters through the double doors to escape from terraces, patios, walls and corridors shrines, has the feeling of moving through a nested series of small jewelry box. Many apartments are still inhabited by the heirs of the ancient clans, others serve as guest houses for tourists, mainly from Taiwan, Singapore and Europe. “At guests from the mainland, we are not” properly set, says the manager of a small pension. Your visitors appreciate the calm and elegance of the old houses. Mainland Chinese are often rude and loud. “You want to smoke, drink and socialize – sometimes disturbs the other guests.”

“Maestro Wu,” has nothing against tourists from the People’s Republic, on the contrary: “Such a group can be a whole boutique” buying up, says the smith, as he prepares Taiwanese oolong tea. The blacksmith carefully handled with delicate tea sets. The Gong Fu ceremony is a major fixture for Wu everyday bustle. Devoutly he sniffs his tea cups. Then he tells him that are now offered shells from around the world, most recently from Iraq. Wu raises his arms up: “The world is crazy,” laughs and embarrassed!. “I’m here but still have enough material for years!”

Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knives are currently available in Europe at maestro-wu.de and kochmesser-shop.com

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