影/古老工藝新風貌!尼泊爾木雕產業出現女性面孔 | Nepalese culture given new life as more women enter woodcraft industry

在臨近尼泊爾繁忙的首都加德滿都(Kathmandu)附近的老城裡,兩位婦女——Sangita 和 Mana Devi 每天都專心的在敲打木頭。木雕工藝傳統上由男性主導,隨著越來越多女性投入木雕業,這項古老工藝的面貌正逐漸改變。

In an ancient town near Kathmandu, Nepal’s bustling capital, Sangita and Mana Devi are busy chipping away at wood. Woodcarving, a profession generally taken up by men, is experiencing a shift in dynamic as more women enter the workforce. 

從事木雕工藝 15 年的 Sangita 經驗老練,她表示,自己一開始接觸木雕時只是兼差,每天大約花3至4小時設計木框和其他藝品。現在,她透過木雕技術能賺得的錢已經夠養活自己和兩個小孩了。

With 15 years of experience, Sangita explains that she started woodcarving as a part time job, freeing up 3-4 hours of her day to make wooden frames and designs. Now, she has “the skills to earn money and give them to her children”.

另一位從事木雕的女性 Mana Devi 也表示,工作提升了她的地位,讓她得以達到經濟獨立、並自己管理財產。

Mana Devi has also been uplifted from her line of work because women nowadays can “manage their expenses” and become financially independent. 

事實上,木雕工藝已經成為許多尼泊爾家庭文化中重要的一部分。許多婦女都會在家中與丈夫一起公木雕,更將木雕工藝的技術傳承給下一代。

In fact, wood carving has become an integral part in Nepal’s family culture. Many women learn and work alongside their husbands at home. Those who feel it is “important to pass on the skill” find time to teach their children the craft. 

自從2015 年尼泊爾發生大地震後,前往尼泊爾參觀寺廟的遊客變少,讓木雕產業陷入困境。不少木雕工匠們都期盼修復寺廟後能復甦當地木雕經濟,但修復工程卻陷入延宕。

However, the number of tourists visiting Nepal’s temples have declined after the destructive earthquake in 2015. Craftmakers hoped that the reconstruction of some temples would revive the wood-carving business, but renovations have been halted. 

今年遇上新冠肺炎疫情無疑讓木雕產業處境雪上加霜,尼泊爾期待在明年疫情緩和後復甦觀光業,而這些女性木雕匠們皆希望透過更多技術訓練以提供這項傳統產業新的面貌,同時保存尼泊爾的文化遺產。

With the onslaught of COVID-19, Nepal hopes to jumpstart its tourism in the upcoming year. These women say that more training in wood carving could help them better present this ancient craft to the world and preserve Nepalese culture.