Written records on Chinese dough figurines date to the Han a series of rulers from a single family. (206 BCE–220 CE), and some two thousand years later this art form is still popular. Skilled artists can shape intricate sculptures in minutes using their hands, scissors, small knives, and pointed sticks. Using dough made from flour or glutinous rice, they create animals, geometric patterns, and human figures drawn from history, folktales, novels, and operas. Artisans begin by blending different types of dough to create vibrant colors. They then pinch, twist, cut, carve, and an outer housing used to shape an object. the dough to create different shapes and to add decorative patterns. In this video from the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program China: a practice, skill, or talent that is passed down from generation to generation. and the Art of Living, artist (j-ow) Baolin (張寶琳) from Beijing explains his introduction to making dough figurines and their significance in the cultural heritage of China today.
Questions for Discussion
- How did the art of creating dough figurines begin and evolve over time?
- How are contemporary dough figurines related to tomb figures from the (tahng) a series of rulers from a single family. (618–907)?
- What is the relationship between dough figurines and the (ching) Ming festival?