Clay sculpting is an ancient traditional Chinese folk art. In the hands of the artists, fine clay is transformed into colorful sculptures. Subject matters of the sculptures usually come from characters in traditional Chinese folklore, classic literatures of operas and novels.
It enjoyed the height of its boom between Tongzhi and Guangxu era in the Qing dynasty. Each piece reflects more than 300 years of Chinese folk art with life-like characteristics. The colors of the sculptures are elegant, natural and harmonious.
In the 1980's, due to severe economic downturn, many Chinese clay sculpture artists were forced to abandon their lifelong career for livelihood. Having witnessed the hardships the old master experienced, the next generation of apprentices were reluctant to pick up the craft. Therefore, this traditional art is not well preserved its history and works are not adequately organized, and valuable collections of clay sculptures have been largely destroyed.
To avoid the complete loss of authentic craft handmade clay figures, it has been recognized and protected as a national heritage.