Shandong Culture

Handicraft fun brightens up pupils' activity class

( Updated: 2017-06-27

Fan Zhengyong, a fifth-generation inheritor of Mount Tai dough figurine-making, caused a sensation among the pupils at Yanglou Primary School in Tai'an, Shandong province during his visit to the school last week.

Fan amazed the students by conjuring up vibrant, lifelike dough figurines of the Minions and characters from classic Chinese novel Journey to the West such as Sun Wukong (the Monkey King), and the monk trapped in a pig's body, Zhu Wuneng.

Handicraft fun brightens up pupils' activity class

Pupils at Yanglou Primary School in Tai'an are fascinated by the vibrant, lifelike dough figurines created by Fan Zhengyong. [Photo/]

The septuagenarian artist is an extremely affable and approachable man who has been teaching the ancient handicraft in local schools for ten years.

"I usually give two or three classes a week and make use of school's activity class to make dough figures with the kids," said Fan.

Dough figurine-making is a folk art form with a more than 1,000-year-old history in Shandong.

Handicraft fun brightens up pupils' activity class

Youngsters at Yanglou Primary School in Tai'an demonstrate their own handmade dough figurines. [Photo/]

Fan learned the traditional skills of figurine-making from his parents and grandparents, but in recent years he has focused on modernizing the ancient art form to make it relevant to young people, producing works imbued with pop culture and embracing diverse themes.

"We are gradually realizing the cultural and educational value in classes on cultural heritage. It combines education with fun and cultivates students' practical ability as well as developing their interest in traditional culture," said Zhang Yibin, principal of Yanglou Primary School.

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