Our Project  



Zhaji is a charming village of the southern Anhui province. The village was founded during the Tang dynasty, and it was an important commercial crossroads particularly during the Ming dynasty. It was during this time that known artists and calligraphers came to Zhaji to paint and reflect on  the surrounding countryside.


Like the tea cultivated on its slopes, the village developed its reputation and fortune during this prestigious time. These particular visitors helped to stimulate the development of a craft industry related to the arts (brushes, paper, ink and accessories in bamboo) which continues today.

But the important economic and social changes China has undergone in recent years has impacted Zhaji considerably and has changed the lives of the inhabitants of the village. Most young people have left the village to try their chances in the city. This has become an almost obligatory migration for those who wish for a decent livelihood today.

Little Jun is a case in point.  She is nine years old and has been raised by her grandparents because they work far from Zhaji: her mother works in a restaurant in Beijing and her father is a workman in Shenzhen, 1200 km to the south. She has seen her parents only once in the three years they have been gone, and never together. This fragmenting of families is often traumatic for those who have left the village, the ones obliged to live far from their family and home, their friends, history and village traditions. It is also extremely difficult for their relatives, who often live in a state of assistance, their fate dependent on those who have left for the city.

This is a situation that many families in Zhaji can relate to, and it is a situation that three inhabitants of the village had to fight against: Sunjun, Riwang and Julien,. They decided to act by creating (The Young Artisans of Zhaji) Club of the Young Contractors of Zhaji.

Their objective is to help enable the young people of the village to continue to live in dignity on their ancestral lands by creating a livelihood for themselves in the village.

We hope that this internet site will become a window onto their world, and that the craftsmen of this village can continue their chosen trades with success and pride.

  Thank you for visiting The Club of the Young Entrepreneurs of Zhaji.


Special thanks to Tang Guo for his participation and Antonin for his photographs.