In China, skilled craftsmen are keeping alive the ancient art of modelling figurines from coloured dough.
In China, skilled craftsmen are keeping alive the ancient art of modelling figurines from coloured dough. This delicate art originated in Heze County in Shandong -- a province on the eastern seaboard of China and , although dough modelling has been popular in China for hundreds of years, it is only now that Western countries have become aware of this unusual art form.
SYNOPSIS: The coloured dough is made from a mixture of glutinous rice flour and, at the hands of artist tang Suguo, will assume the likeness of the popular mythical warrior, Zong Kui -- known for his ability to subjugate evil spirits.
Tang Suguo is an instructor in the department of sculpture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Peking. He first learned the art from his father, Tang Zibo, a noted folk artist in the Chinese capital who won wide acclaim. His son has since introduced many improvements to the art.
Tang Suguo is so skilled that it only takes him a few minutes to bring a lifelike expression to the dough figures.
Their little faces measure only a few centimetres (less than an inch) across -- yet each figurine has its own clearly defined character and identity.
In the past, the most popular subject have proved to be Peking Opera stage figures -- such as a general in full armour, an emperor's favourite concubine, a goddess and the mythical Monkey King, famous for his supernatural powers. But now, china's dough modellers are breaking into new fields. Tang suguo has created a series of folk dancers, such as a Korean drum dancer and an Uygur girl from north west China -- and these dough figures have limbs that actually move.