- Chinese Name: 李榮烈
- Place of Birth: Nantou County (Central Taiwan)
- Date of Birth: 1936
- Memorable Quote: “Above all, you need to master the skills first, before you can start passing them down to the next generation.”
Li Jung-lieh’s road to craftsmanship began in 1954, when he enrolled in a workshop founded by the highly acclaimed artisan Dr. Yen Shuei-lung (顏水龍). During his stay at the studio in his native Nantou County, Li was mentored by senior bamboo-weaving instructor Huang Tu-shan (黃塗山), who later became the winner of the 2008 National Crafts Achievement Award.
Li later left the workshop to work in fields other than bamboo weaving between 1964 and 1978, during which he learned about carpentry and was dispatched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Malagasy Republic, today’s Madagascar, to serve as a technician for bamboo-based crafts.
In 1978, the 42-year-old received a job offer to work at the Nantou County Craft Institute, the craft workshop he once attended. He then learned the skills and knowledge of lacquerware when artist Chen Huo-ching taught at the institute in 1984. Li began mixing different materials and finally mastered the art of lacquered bamboo baskets, which refers to craft pieces featuring meticulous patterns that were woven from bamboo stripes and painted with lacquer.
At the age of 53, Li’s career reached its pinnacle, receiving awards one after another, including the top award of the National Art Exhibition’s crafts category in 1989 and the 10th Annual Cultural Heritage Award in 1994. He has continued to teach around Taiwan and overseas since he retired from the Nantou-based crafts institute 12 years ago.
In addition to mentoring younger generations of bamboo-weaving artisans, Li has also contributed to the publication of two books on crafts, one of which describes his experiences in sharing his knowledge and personal joy in crafts.
As one of the few Taiwanese artisans who excel at bamboo weaving, carpentry, and lacquer arts, Li was selected to be the recipient of the top craft honor in Taiwan for the year 2013.