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Folk Art-Zhang's Clay Figures
enorth.com.cn   2005-04-25 09:02


The clay figures making in Tianjin was already of high repute in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). But what makes it a wonderful and unique national work of art is Zhang's colored clay figures.

The originator of "Zhang's Clay Figures" is Zhang Changlin (1826-1906). He began to learn from his father the techniques of making clay figures when he was small and developed his consummate skills. He would let you sit in front of him and talk with you. Then, he begins to work silently with clay. After a short while, a figure of you is done, with lifelike facial expressions.

"Zhang's Clay Figures"have a variety of themes. They draw on folk customs, legendary stories, Chinese stage operas or Chinese literature classics such as"All Men Are Brothers","A Dream of Red Mansions"and"The Romance of the Three Kingdoms". Because materials are strictly selected and sprightly colors are used, Zhang's Clay Figures are durable and vivid. They have gained wide acceptance and recognition. Foreign admirers have purchased and put them in museums for appreciation.

In many international fairs, they are always considered masterpieces. In a museum in Japan, a Hall of Contemporary Chinese Art has a dedicated exhibition room that houses 58 Zhang's clay figures. In recent years, Zhang's Clay Figures have been serving as a bridge of cultural exchanges between China and other countries. This traditional folk art passed on from generation to generation will continue to develop and prosper.


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Editor: Zhang Jialu

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