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Culture Express > News Video

Dough figurines become popular gifts between lovers

CCTV.com

08-02-2014 19:33 BJT

Some traditional handicrafts of China are getting a modern touch to meet the needs of the Qixi market. Flour figurines are a specialty of folk artists in Wanrong county of Shanxi province. The artists there are catering the figurines to young lovers looking to send special gifts on today's romantic occasion.

Some traditional handicrafts of China are getting a modern touch to meet the needs of the Qixi market.

Some traditional handicrafts of China are getting a modern touch to meet the needs of the Qixi market.

Xie Yunxian and her son have been working very hard lately to meet orders for customers. This dough molding craft is a provincial intangible heritage of Shanxi, and the mother and son are officially certified inheritors of it.

Apart from their staple merchandise, a bride and broom wearing ancient costumes, figurines molded from real people are very hot items. Based on photos the customers provide, and with procedures like kneading, carving and coloring, they turn lifeless dough into lifelike images.  

"We began to receive orders half a month before Qixi Festival. Some of the customers came to our shop to order, some do it via internet. They've either asked for figurines molded from real people, or opera dolls, or our rose series. We've finished more than 50 orders," said dough figurine maker Zhao Rui.

Some traditional handicrafts of China are getting a modern touch to meet the needs of the Qixi market.

Some traditional handicrafts of China are getting a modern touch to meet the needs of the Qixi market.

Some traditional handicrafts of China are getting a modern touch to meet the needs of the Qixi market.

Some traditional handicrafts of China are getting a modern touch to meet the needs of the Qixi market.

Zhao attributes the popularity of dough figurines to people's love for traditional Chinese holidays. They want to send their loved ones something unique, rather than simply flowers and chocolates, to mark Chinese Valentine's day.

With deft movements, these girls are making roses out of dough. But the shop's products for Qixi festival wouldn't be complete without one themed on the legend behind it. This piece portrays the reunion of the Cowhand and the Weaver Maid, on a bridge made by magpies.

"The Qixi festival is when people celebrate the cowhand and weaver maid reuniting on the seventh day of the seventh month on the lunar calendar. We make these as a happy wish to all of those in love," said Yunxian Dough Figurine company director Xie Yunxian.

With traditional dough figurines becoming trendy holiday gifts, clearly traditional crafts can be given a modern twist, for a new lease on life.

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