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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  »  
Chinese Sugar Painting

Sugar Painting (糖画), as its name suggests, is made from sugar. It is reviewed as both sugar and panting to view or eat. It can be seen whenever on temple fair, market fair or in park. Sugar painting is a kind of folk traditional handicrafts, especially prevailing in northern China. Boil brown sugar, white sugar and little malt sugar in fire until it can draw wire. Then artist scoop up a spoon of melting sugar juice, cast quickly on a slabstone back and forth to create a shape. After the accomplishment, scoop up the sugar painting with a shovel and stick a bamboo slip.

The sculptures of character and animal such as dragon, fish, bird, butterfly, Zhang Fei (a figure from the novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms) and so on engross children’s imagination mostly even though there are other subjects adopted from fiction and operas.

As one symbol of Chinese culture, nowadays, the charming of sugar painting has been gradually getting more and more attention and recognition, so are these artists. Chengdu Sugar Painting has been list into “Second batch of national intangible cultural heritage”. Cai Shu, born in a sugar painting aristocratic family in Sichuan province perform sugar painting show in metropolis at home even go abroad such as Japan, Germany, Spanish, Singapore and so on.

He was granted as the “Folk arts and crafts Master” by Chinese Folk Literature and Art Society, the “International Folk Arts and Crafts Artists” by Chinese Folk arts and crafts artists committee and the “A level of folk arts and crafts” by the Unite Nations Educational. Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The history of sugar painting can be traced back Ming Dynasty, originating from Sichuan Province. Sugar tiger, sugar lion or figures of ministers were sacrificed to gods and ancestors in Royal Court in Ming Dynasty. Then the handicraft spread in the folk and evolved into sugar paining gradually.

It became more popular in Ming Dynasty. The technique was more matured with a more diverse range of patterns emerged. Propitious patterns such as dragon, fish, monkey, phoenix etc were loved by public. In Sichuan, sugar painting got more advanced development in production, seeing the replacement of the molds with the now-common small ladle, sometimes bronze or copper.

Folk story about Sugar Painting
According to the memory of the old artists Shiyun Bai, Yongcheng Li and Deran Fan, in Tang Dynasty, great poet Ziang Chen born in Chengdu preferred to saccharose with another different way from other people. Firstly, he made the saccharose melt, then molded all kinds of patterns of animals and flowers on a smooth and clean table. After the solidification, he ate them while viewing.

Some day, Ziang Chen was admiring his own workmanship. The little crown prince saw these animals when passing, so he asked for some. When back to the palace, the sugar was eat up, the little crown prince was crying for more, which bothered the emperor. So Ziang Chen was called up into the palace and performed the handicrafts on the spot.

Ziang Cheng shaped the melt saccharose into a copper cash, immediately, the little crown prince got tears away and smiled. The emperor was happy to promote Ziang Chen as You Shiyi (an official name in Tang Dynasty). After Ziang Chen retired, in order to reward the emperor’s patronage, he took somebody as his apprentices to pass on the technique. Spreading from hand to hand, the handicraft of sugar painting was passed down in folk.

Add On:  Papper Cutting
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