Dough play


POSTED: Monday, February 08, 2010

Award-winning master artist Xun Ye learned the art of dough figurine sculpting from his grandfather, learning, in addition, patience and concentration.

“;It can also inspire creativity and enhance intelligence,”; Ye said via e-mail, with the help of a translator.

Dough figurine sculpting is a traditional hands-on art that has been in China for 2,000 years. It was first used in festivals, weddings, funerals and religious activities.

“;It first takes the brain to come up with ideas, (then) takes the hand to transform the idea onto the dough,”; Ye explained. “;This process helps foster people's sentiments.”;





        What: Chinese Dough Art Workshop

When: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday


Where: Children's Discovery Center


Cost: $20, $15 for members


Call: 524-5437




Ye will be sharing his skills with youngsters ages 6 to 12 at the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center this weekend. Children will learn basic dough art techniques to create their own animal or flower sculptures. Ye will also share a brief history of the art form—including its characteristics, materials and tools—and will demonstrate the sculpting of a child's face.

In China, dough sculptures are created with a glutinous rice flour mixture that includes honey, lard, powdered sugar and boiling water.

The folk art originated in the Sung Dynasty and was passed down from generation to generation. At the age of 32, Ye was the youngest man to be named “;Famous Flour Figurine Artist.”; His designs range from simple animals to intricate mythological characters from Chinese history.

Because of advancing technology, China's youths are not interested in learning traditional art forms, so Ye hopes that his workshops stir some interest.

“;Young people like the stimulation of more advanced and exciting things. This has brought some difficulties in maintaining this art form and its continual development,”; he said.

Dough figurine sculpting is unlike carving, where a piece of stone or wood is chiseled away. “;When making dough figurine, one must work quickly in a very short period of time to complete the sculpture. The figurine can be preserved for a long time,”; Ye said.