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Dough Figure, Skilled Chinese Folk Art


Dough figure is a kind of small sculpture that uses flour and glutinous rice flour as the main raw material, plus the components such as color, paraffin, honey, and undergoes control and mildew-proof processing. With the history of two or three hundred years, it is a type of folk artwork with very high artistic value.



In the process of molding the dough figure, the craftsmen take their tools such as scissors, cattle bone sticker, small comb, etc. to knead, twine, rub and lift the colored dough and cut, carve, draw and mold the bodies, hands, heads and faces of the small figures by small bamboo knives. After decorated with hair and clothes, various artistic images are created, including graceful and elegant beauty, naïve children and the characters and historical figures in different myths, legends, and dramas. The colorful dough figures have smiles, so the mold is very vivid. Some of them even have fingers and teeth. The clothes and decoration pieces of dough figures are also complete, even the clothes plaits are very clear too. Some of the figures have small shoes on their feet and sword in their hands. In addition, they can last for a long time without mildew, crack, deform or fade.



Generally, dough figures are made on streets and sold on the spot. The craftsman depends on this craft to make a living. There is no specific institution that teaches the skills for making dough figures. Thus the craft is handed down by oral teaching and practice. In general, the craft is passed down from the ancestors of a family. There are a lot of schools of dough figures making. They differ from one another in the formula and techniques of dough kneading. Even within the same school, the formula and techniques of dough kneading can also be different with the change of seasons and works.



The pocket sized and varied dough figures are full of profound Chinese characteristics. They are fully concentrated with the historical and cultural essence of the five-thousand-year history of the Chinese nation.

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