The Symphony of Tinsmithing of Carpenter Street Kuching.

The Symphony of Tinsmithing of Carpenter Street Kuching.

Name : Symphony of the Tinsmith 打铁匠的故事

Type : Street Mural art, full sized wall painting beside buildings that tells stories of the people and culture around it.

Date : Drawing of the mural starts on mid December 2018 and completed on January 2019.

Location : Near Carpenter Street, Kuching. The mural is drawn on the roadside wall of Kwang Yan Trading Sdn.Bhd. grocery store beside the T junction of China Street and Main Bazaar Road. When access by driving, you can park your vehicles beside Main Bazaar Road parking space, or take a walk along Carpenter Street to reach here.

Latitude : 1.5590400509413413

Longitude : 110.3463524580002

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Artist : Leonard Siaw (萧全成). Leonard Siaw is a Sarawakian mural artist who have championed an international street mural competition and famous for many mural arts around Kuching City. Do look out for his amazing creation around when you visit Kuching City.

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Also known as #siawtistic (萧艺)

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This is the second ‘History on the Wall’ Street Art Project Series that tells the story of Kuching oldest disciplines, which in this mural is about Tintsmithing. This Project is supported by the Sarawak government under the Old Kuching Heritage Trail, that was initiated by Datuk wee.

Other famous murals by Leonard Siaw nearby including Early Merchants at India Street, The Lane Hawkers at Kai Joo Lane, and the Kuching River Taxi (The Sampan) at Jawa Street.

The Symphony of Tinsmithing of Carpenter Street Kuching.

The Symphony of Tinsmithing of Carpenter Street Kuching. Featuring a Tinsmith welding the tin works. The fire pit beside is where the tin is molten.

The street art tells the story of Tinsmithing at Carpenter street. The Carpenter street of Kuching is more than hundred years old with shops and histories dated back to the early Chinese settler at these area.

Tinsmithing is one of the old discipline in Kuching city where tin workers self manufacture utensils and tools from tin. Tin utensils and tools are preserve against rust compared to bare metal, and are more lightweight and durable. Such tin works including pails, funnels, steamers, stoves, oil lamps, baking pans, pots, watering cans and many more household objects. All these items are made manually with hands and skilled craftsmanship that is pass down from one generation to another.

In the early days, Carpenter Street is not only famous for its rattan and wooden furniture production, it is also famous for its tinsmithing. Tinsmithing was an extremely lucrative business back then. China Street was fondly called ‘pak tik gei’ or hammering metal street in Hokkien by the Chinese community. China street was also the birthplace of the Hakka tinsmiths and the traditional metal industry in Kuching.

According to the artist Leonard Siaw, “The moment I stepped into China-street, I heard it in an instant. The sound of clanking and hammering into works of cold metal, resonating from within the street walls, reminded me of my late grandfather, who was also a Tinsmith by trade. In a flash, priceless moments of him from the days of my youth, surfaced and brought back memories of utmost nostalgia”

The Symphony of Tinsmithing of Carpenter Street Kuching.

The Symphony of Tinsmithing of Carpenter Street Kuching. Featuring a tinsmith hammering with a tin container with lid.

The advancement in technology which including the mass production of cheaper plastic, and the ease of import of factory produced utensil and tools, and the lack of interest of younger generations to continue on with the tradition, over time tinsmithing at Carpenter streets slowly become obsolete and slowly fade away with history. At current time, only 6 remaining tinsmithing at old streets of Kuching City, in which 4 is at China Street and the other 2 at Bishopgate Street.

Leonard Siaw mural on the Symphony of Tinsmithing is actually a combination of impression of tinsmithing of Carpenter street, which each of the featured three tinsmithing craftsman working on three different tinworks. The different sound from three different tin works will make the symphony of tinsmithing at Carpenter street.

In the mural drawing, the old tinsmith on the right of the mural is actually featuring one of the oldest tinsmith in town currently. The oldest tinsmith, in his 80s, smithing metal to shape with his hammer. Next to him is a tinsmith hammering a tin bucket, and another tinsmith soldering the edge of a tinware.

The Symphony of Tinsmithing of Carpenter Street Kuching.

The Symphony of Tinsmithing of Carpenter Street Kuching. Featuring one of the oldest tinsmith in town at work with many of the common household tin utensil at the background.

Leonard Siaw mural on Symphony of the Tinsmith perfectly preserved the memories of the past on a wall that will be remembered for the future generation that this place was once famous for tinsmithing.

If you are visiting Kuching City, and happens to be at Carpenter Street or Kuching Waterfront, do have a look at this precious mural that depicts the past history of Kuching City.