Dough sculpture, also known as "kneading dough figurines", is a traditional non-legacy folk craft with a history of over 2,000 years. It is a kind of intangible cultural heritage.
"Nowadays, we use flour and glutinous rice flour as materials, mix in pigments, and knead into figures, flowers, insects and fish with simple tools and handcrafting techniques. They can be preserved for a long time," explained Gan Haishui, a master of dough sculpture.
Entering Gan's workshop, we see a red and white "Chinese Dragon" with bare fangs and brandish claws. This is a work made by Gan to welcom the Year of the Dragon. It will soon be finished after scales are pasted and paint applied.
While this craft may seem extremely demanding and time-consuming to outsiders, Gan Haishui finds joy in it. For the past twenty years, he has been dedicated to this craft, and his skills have been improved day by day.
Gan plans to create more works with Chinese elements and local characteristics this year, in line with the theme of the Year of the Dragon, such as the love stories in Hangzhou that have been passed down since ancient times.