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China: Around The Nation

Creative fruits: Chinese farmer’s melons sell out after he carves auspicious calligraphy in skins

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2016, 3:18pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 2:04pm

A villager in Henan province has sold 3,000 kilograms of watermelons in just 11 days by carving calligraphy in the outer skins, a mainland news website reports.

Gu Xinliang, a 56-year-old from Pingdingshan, found that the calligraphies he carved on the watermelons for fun created a significant boom in his sales. All the melons he harvested in July, as well as 1,000 kilograms of uncarved muskmelons, sold out in less than two weeks, Dahe.cn reported.

Due to the remote location of Gu’s booth next to an expressway, he said he usually sold only a few melons per day. He carved calligraphy on two watermelons on July 20 and both sold in an hour, according to the report.

The calligraphies Gu carved were auspicious Chinese characters such as “Fu” (luck) and “Shou” (longevity). The first buyer of the carved watermelons said she planned to send them to her mother and grandmother as gifts.

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The “calligraphy” took Gu almost half an hour at first but, with practise, as sales improved, he reduced that time to less than 10 minutes for each watermelon. He even carved customized calligraphies for his customers.

Gu used his nails to carve the watermelons because he said other tools might break through into the melons. “I have more control with my nails,” he said.

Gu is also a primary school teacher in the village. He said he only studied calligraphy while in primary and middle school and, due to the volume of work on his farm, did not practise it often, according to the report.

“My calligraphy belongs to my own genre,” he said.