Pic story: Zhang Yu, 6th generation maker of "Clay Figure Zhang"

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-29 19:37:19|Editor: ZX
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Zhang Yu, the sixth generation maker of "Clay Figure Zhang", kneads a figurine at his workshop in Tianjin, north China, Sept. 12, 2017. "Clay Figure Zhang" is a household name of traditional folk art in China, and such artwork has a history of nearly 200 years. Zhang Yu, the sixth generation clay figurine maker in his family, took charge of the family business in 1996, when he was just 18 years old. As time changed, the craft and brand has evolved. Instead of making figurines and selling them like a street vendor, he has hired art managers to exploit and market the artistic value of his work. Besides kneading clay figurines, Zhang also teaches in several universities to promote the traditional craft. "Clay Figure Zhang" was listed as the first group of national intangible cultural heritage in 2006. Due to the extremely delicate craft, it usually takes three months to complete a fine figurine after complicated process, which consists of preparing clay material, modeling clay into certain shape, airing, firing and painting. "I must guarantee the quality of my work," says Zhang, noting that he will devote his limited energy to focus on the art. Back in the 1840s, craftsman Zhang Mingshan rose to fame for his vivid clay figurines that combined traditional Chinese sculpture with western techniques, and were coined "Clay Figure Zhang," a brand his offspring have continued for six generations. (Xinhua/Song Yu)

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KEY WORDS: clay figure