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We had an absolutely perfect day with our tour guide - Rogin Luo - who took us for a hike along The Great Wall! Didn't know what to expect and were thrilled to have him as our guide. Very imformative, knowledgable and fun! We go to experience a part of The Great Wall that was unrestored and see all its natural beauty. Got a long history lesson along the way!

After the hike, we all went to lunch at a small place at the bottom of the hill. Located in a house, we ate lunch in the proprietors bedroom! What a hoot! Rogin is the Best of the Best! This tour company delivered for us and we are extremely grateful.

Westborough, Massachusetts
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Home  »  China Travel Guide  »  Chinese Culture  »  Chinese Handicrafts  »  
Dough Modelling

Dough modeling, commonly known dough flower, ceremony bun, flower cake, dough figurines. It is one of the traditional folk art of Shanxi Han nationality. The main material of dough modelling is sticky rice powder and blend it into different colors. Then craftsmen use their hands and simple hand tools to shape a variety of lifelike image. In feudal society, those famers who lost their lands could only went far away to sell dough modelling works. They wandered about the streets and did their work by the streets as well. Although their works were appreciated by folk people, dough modelling began to be recognized as a folk art till now. In the older times, dough modelling was just seen as gadgets which can’t be presentable and acceptable by general republic.

Characteristics of Dough Modelling
Dough modelling has a variety of colors and small sizes thus making it easy to carry. The material to make dough modelling is rather cheap so that it won’t cost much to do dough modelling. After long-term exploration by Dough modeling artists, dough modeling works now will not mold, not crack, not distort, and not fade. So it becomes a favorite for tourists and it is a memorial gift to share with their relatives. Foreign tourists who see the dough modelling during a visit are all greatly admire for artists consummate skill, wonderful lifelike characters. They praise Dough modeling as "China's sculpture."

Shanxi Dough Modelling
According to its using function, Shanxi dough modelling can be divided into edible dough modeling and collected dough modelling. Collected dough modelling is made of refined flour, sticky rice powder, salt, antiseptic substance and sesame oil. Edible dough modelling is made of wheat starch, cornstarch and other materials.

Spring Festival Dough Modelling
There is a folk custom on Shanxi that every family would make do dough modelling during spring festival, weddings and funerals and other holidays. In folk society, dough modelling is also called dough figurine. Different places have different names for it. Most of these dough modelling is made by local housewives. Especially on the fifteenth day of every seventh lunar month, the Dead Spirit Festival, nearly all the families would do various kinds of dough modelling, including dough figurine, dough animals, dough flowers, dough feather and dough fruits.

In terms of the whole province, Shanxi dough modelling use flour as the material. Shanxi has a wide variety of pasta. They not only use pasta as a staple food meals, but also create a wide range of well-flour "dough flower" to express the inner spiritual world and a desire for life. That's Shanxi dough figurines, called "edible works of art." Shanxi dough modelling was prospered from the folk society and spread till now. Dough forms, use and colors are in close contact with local folk activities, customs. In Shanxi cities and countries, almost all housewives could not only do dough modelling, but also make many different shapes. As they do it for themselves to eat, their skills don’t matter much. With the development of dough modelling, it has a totally different kind which requires more skills. Craftsmen use their ingenious hands create dough modelling arts which are vivid and elaborated.

In terms of the whole province, Shanxi dough modelling has bold shape, lively and generous color, rough, plain and terse style. Shanxi dough modelling is not only elegantly clumsy, but also has distinctive local characteristics and features. When craftsmen had a dough in hand, they use a toothpick to carve and paint. Within several minutes, dough animals, plants and figurines would appear. These dough modelling artwork is as natural as though it were living. There is no doubt that it gets its reputation all over the world.

Folk Customs
Throughout seasons, dough modelling has played an important role through ages. In different rituals which shows the meaning of people’s life, dough modelling also has indispensable position.

A baby's completion of its first month of life is the first important ritual when man comes to earth. As a result, dough modelling devote particular care to it. In Huo County region, the grandmother need to do a dough modelling work which is more than one foot long. On the work, there curved the shape of 12 animal zodiac. And there is also a red dot on one zodiac which represents the child’s year of birth.

Wedding is also an important ritual for people. In the north of Shanxi, the bride and bridegroom both eat a pair of dough fish and rabbit. On the roof of their new home, a pair of dough rabbit will hang there. The real intention of rabbit is tiger and tiger is the mythical creature which can bless the house.

When the elders reach a circle of sixty year, the younger generation would made a big dough peach-shaped birthday cake for them.

Add on: Papper Cutting
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               Chinese Embroidery



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