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LIUYANG: City of Fireworks
Making fireworks in China's fireworks capital of the world.
mouseover pic to see moreAlthough many towns throughout the world have a close association with fireworks there is none with a greater claim to their title 'City of Fireworks' than Liuyang. Situated in the Hunan province of China, Liuyang has a greater concentration of fireworks manufacturers than anywhere else in the world. If you've ever wondered where your fireworks come from, the answer is probably: Liuyang.
It is the nature of fireworks making that the different processes are spread far apart - a precaution against a chain reaction should there be a single accident. For this reason, you can wander far and wide in and around Liuyang and it appears that everywhere you look there is something happening which involves the creation of fireworks.
"If you stand anywhere in Liuyang at night and look in any direction, there will be fireworks going off. Everywhere. In town, out of town, everywhere you look. In all directions.
Fireworks Workshops. Workshops are built into recesses carved out of the hillside.This keeps production units well-separated and protected from each other.
Manufacturing a cake (roman candle battery). The compound is packed into individual tubes which are assembled to create the cake.
Exactly how long fireworks have been made in Liuyang is the subject of some debate. Since fireworks are generally thought to have originated in China anyway, it is unlikely that there was any definitive point of origin.
The components of small aerial shells. Stars, black powder and shell hemispheres are seen here being assembled.
Rocket heads are being fused. After fusing, the stick is added and the rocket is then ready for its packaging.
It is probable though that the history of fireworks production in Liuyang spans more than 1300 years. "Industries in China", published in 1935, recorded that "the earliest fireworks came into being in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and Chinese fireworks manufacturing began to flourish during the Song Dynasty; its birthplace is in Liuyang".
Hemisphere of a packed, pattern shell. This is a dummy with inert components, coloured to show assembly details.
Making the Chinese cracker-string. Hundreds of individual crackers are fused together and rolled into shape.
During the Yongzheng reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911), Liuyang fireworks became an article of tribute to the royal families which gave an added impetus to the developing trade.
Stars drying in the open air.Stars for aerial shells are rolled from black powder, a binder, and other compounds to create the effect, then left to dry.
Fireworks workshops boomed ( ! ! ! ), until more than nine out of ten households were engaged in the trade. Fireworks began to be exported to more than 20 countries and regions.
Today, Chinese fireworks are amongst the best in the world and the quality and variety of the pyrotechnics has contributed to the growth in the appreciation of fireworks in the UK. Where once upon a time fireworks in Britain were limited almost exclusively to Bonfire Night, we now enjoy fireworks championships, competitions and festivals, as well as celebrating weddings, birthday and any other special occasion with a pyrotechnic flourish.
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