Duan Xu, a scholar of the Ming dynasty saw the importance of water—
the powerful element. By inventing the Lanzhou Waterwheel, Duan Xu
channeled the power of the Yellow River to irrigate local crops. This
brought prosper to the dry lands of Lanzhou.
The art of making the Lanzhou Waterwheel was all but lost in the 21st
century, until Duan Xu’s 20th descendent Duan Yicun took it upon
himself to study and learn the craft. Now 74 years old, Duan Yicun finds
the waterwheel market chaotic and competitive.
Looking to his apprentice and future generations to inherit the craft of
waterwheel making, he is hopeful the tradition will continue and the
quality standards of the Lanzhou Waterwheel will be upheld.
Duan Yicun looks to the future, as the Yellow River has yet another role
to play in the community of Lanzhou and China abroad.