Many dates with history

Updated: 2016-02-02 07:35

By Wang Kaihao(China Daily)

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Many dates with history

Wang Jin (L) repairs antique clocks at the Palace Museum, which houses 1,500-odd such royal treasures.

Despite this, he confesses that hibernation may not be a bad choice for the clocks as this prevents mechanical wear and tear.

Meanwhile, Wang has reason to feel luckier than many traditional craftsmen who worry that no one will inherit their techniques.

Though there is a regulation that none of the clocks can be moved out of the Palace Museum for repairs, Wang's techniques were listed as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2014.

As for the other repairmen, Qi Haonan, a 34-year-old Beijinger who joined the team 10 years ago after graduating with a major in mechanical automation, is able to take on most tasks independently.

And, Li Chunsheng, 55, a veteran antique clock repairman once stationed in Beijing's Panjiayuan market, is also on the team.

Looking ahead, Wang says: "To expand our efforts, different channels should be used.

"Sometimes, it is more efficient to find a qualified repairman from among artisans like Li rather than fresh graduates, who lack the experience."

But Wang says he will still nurture more graduates because their professional knowledge like mechanical drawing is urgently needed.

As for passing on his skills, his 24-year-old son is carrying the torch.

Wang says: "As a child growing up near the Forbidden City, he was naturally attracted to my job. Now, he is an antique clock repairman at the Summer Palace.

"That park also has dozens of royal clocks, but no one there had been able to fix them," he says of a time prior to his son's joining.

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If you go

8:30 am-4:30 pm, Mondays closed. Palace Museum, 4 Jingshan Qianjie, Dongcheng district. An entry ticket costs 40 yuan ($6). The Hall of Clocks is inside The Hall for Ancestral Worship (Fengxian Dian) in the east wing of the museum.

More information at

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