Inheriting an Ingenious Handicraft: Linyi Dough Sculpture

Dough sculpture, commonly known as dough flowering or dough kneading, is a traditional handicraft spread among Chinese people. The dough sculpture artform has been recorded in writing since the Han Dynasty. After thousands of years of inheritance, the artform is deeply loved as a folk art. Furthermore, the objects are a good method of research for history, archaeology, folklore, art and aesthetics.

The raw material of dough sculptures is the common flour. But the craftsmen have the ability to transform daily routine into magical world. After kneading the flour dough by hand, they create various images with it like graceful beauties or lovely children.

The 33-year-old Ms Hu Jinxiang has been engaged in the dough modeling business for 7 to 8 years now. As a child, she was already showing talent of ingenuity in handicraft.  Influenced and supported by her family, she began to embark on the path of dough sculpture creation.

In order to make a living, Ms Hu turned her hobby expertise into profession and became officially a dough sculpting craftswoman. She started selling at a stall in the market. While saving money, she accumulated through selling much experience. She became keenly aware that she lacked systematic study lof the art plus professional guidance. That brought her to the arduous road of art study.

Meanwhile, accumulating enough money, Ms Hu opened a shop in Longyuan Old Town which is located in the scenic area of Tangtou Street. The antique architecture and poetic environment are consistent with her traditional craftsmanship. During the off-season, the quiet old town is suitable for her creative mind. During the peak season, the bustling town is crowded with tourists, bringing business to her works. 

With her exquisite craftsmanship, Ms Hu has created many lifelike art pieces and won various awards at the national, provincial and municipal levels. She is now a well-known figure in her district of Hedong, and is appointed as the executive director of the Clay Sculpture Committee of the China Folk Culture Research Institute. As a representative of inheriting the art of Dough Sculpture, she obviously feels a greater sense of responsibility and mission, often participating in charity activities, holding dough sculpting experience classes to spread this artform to as many people as she can.

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