Gourd has a similar pronunciation as the Chinese word fulu, which means "happiness", and is regarded as a symbol of the Chinese people. The hand-painted gourd, originating in the Song Dynasty (9300-1279), is now an intangible cultural heritage item of Rizhao city in Shandong province.
Li Wenxing, a gourd painting craftsman, has decorated his house with different-styled gourds, painted with images of the Maitreya Buddha, landscapes and the twelve Chinese zodiac signs. Li only uses a single paintbrush and a plate of color paints — but after no more than half an hour, vivid artwork appears. The commonplace gourds are thereby endowed with spirituality and life, becoming lifelike objects.