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Hechi's bronze drum achieves Guinness world record certificate

By Feng Lu (chinadaily.com.cn)

The recently completed Hechi bronze drum was authenticated by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest at the Theatrical Stage Square in Yangshuo county, Guilin, Guangxi, on Jan 16.

The size of the drum is 4.2 meters in diameter and 2.6 meters in height. With a weight of 7 tons, the drum took 20 workers in Huanjiang Maonan autonomous county, Hechi, more than six months to complete.

It was designed by Wei Qichu and Wei Qican, two "representative inheritors" of Guangxi's intangible cultural heritage, "Zhuang ethnic group bronze drum casting technique".

With both men having backgrounds as blacksmiths, the brothers started research and testing for the project in the 1990s and finally created the casting process for producing gigantic bronze drums, building on the heritage of the traditional manufacturing technique.

The drum was customized by the Guilin Renhe Investment Company and will be placed permanently at the highest point of the Yangshuo Theatrical Stage.

Tan Mian, chairman of Huanjiang county political consultative conference, said that Yangshuo is a famous tourism county and attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is the best place to show the bronze drum culture.

The Wei Qichu and Wei Qican brothers felt some regret that the drum could not be displayed in Hechi. However, they both showed the willingness to produce an even bigger bronze drum in the future, to be placed in Hechi. As Hechi is the hometown of the bronze drum it is only fitting, said the brothers, but more time is needed to further develop their bronze casting skills.

The bronze drum is a precious cultural heritage made by ethnic minority groups in Southwest China and the south of the Five Ridges in ancient times. It has a history of more than 2,000 years. At present, the existing bronze drums handed down from ancient times total about 2,400, with more than 1,400 in Hechi itself.

The Wei brothers have produced more than 100,000 bronze drums over the years. The drums have been sold to places around the world such as France and Southeast Asia.

Hechi's bronze drum achieves Guinness world record certificate

Government officials of Yangshuo county and Huanjiang county as well as a drum maker representative unveil for the world's largest drum. [Photo by Lu Zengling / hcwang.cn]

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