Yunnan Black Copper with Silver Inlay (乌铜走银) is a unique, sophisticated and accomplished copper handmade crafts with nearly 300 years of history, founded in Yunnan Shiping County in Qing Yongzheng period.

In order to make black copper with silver inlay artworks, various patterns or pictures are first engraved on the copper base object by the chisel, and then the silver (or gold) is melt into scores of patterns and integrated with the copper base by the high temperature.

After technical processes of molding, assembly, grinding, polishing and hand covering etc., the copper base naturally becomes black and shows silver (or gold) pattern and pictures with black and white (or black and yellow) contrasting effect. The color and decoration of black copper with in silver inlay works are quaint, elegant and chic.

The traditional craft usually consists of at least seven processes.

First, refining black copper alloy with high-quality copper and certain percentage of gold or silver blended with other precious metal.

Second, forging the copper alloy to make different thicknesses black copper.

Third, engraving patterns on the copper base by the chisel.

Fourth, inlaying silver or gold by filling silver or gold powder into scores of patterns and melt with the copper base by the high temperature.

Fifth, molding and assembling

Sixth, hand polishing with sandpaper or a grinding wheel to show silver inlay pattern.

Seventh, hand covering

Cover and rub the surface of object by sweating hands over and over again to form a layer of natural oxidation protective film with shiny black effect.

Yuan Kunlin(袁昆林), living in Kunming Jinning County of Yunnan province, is currently the intangible cultural heritage of Black Copper with Silver Inlay art and Yunnan master craftsman.