Here are links to other interesting and informative articles about hand-engraving and Shanghai Mint:http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/862356.shtmlhttp://www.360doc.com/content/12/1019/09/363711_242362351.shtml
More than 12 designers and engravers work here. "Some of the younger engravers with an understanding of art progress quickly," said Yu.
The company today offers young employees a range of advanced study opportunities. Young Shanghai Mint designers like Zhu Xihua and Chen Yanwen have proven their worth by claiming major awards for their work.
And in recent years there has been fierce competition between engravers here and those working for other mint companies in Nanjing, Shenyang and Shenzhen.
"The quality of the design and engraving of commemorative coins is much higher nowdays. In the past, these tasks were designated to one artist, but now we have to compete for work," said Zeng Chenghu, a designer and craftsman with the company. "The competition also pushes the engravers to higher levels. Even though this is difficult work success is a great reward."
Compared with the skills needed for machine-struck coins, the demands on the people who hand engrave coins are almost impossible. For this engravers work directly onto a die which is the same size as the coin.
The hand engraving skills of the Shanghai Mint were listed as an intangible cultural heritage in 2007.
Hand engraving was introduced to China about 100 years ago and the Shanghai Mint now has seven hand engravers. Fang Maosen and Huang Jian are the two senior engravers, who now work on commemorative bronze medals. "Hand engraving is completely different to machine engraving. The skills cannot cross over," said Zeng.
"Hand engraving is difficult to learn. You have to have great patience and most people who start to learn this give it up. Producing a commemorative medal can take many months of work," Zeng said.