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Artist in Gansu creates vivid clay figurines

By Bi Nan (Chinadaily.com.cn)    10:39, September 09, 2015

Faces emerge from Yue Yunsheng's clay sculptures. (Source: chinadaily.com.cn/Qin Fengjing)

The first time when one sees Yue Yunsheng's creations, one can't help but be impressed by the vivid and lively clay figurines. In his artwork series Chinese New Year, he even puts himself in the figurines and creates an image of a little boy preparing for Chinese New Year with his family, in a scene from his childhood memories.

He also created other well-known series, like Refugee, 36 Laughs, and Ugly Face. The Ugly Face series has more than 3,000 ugly faces with different facial impressions and is very popular with visitors coming to his workshop.

All of his creations are original and no two are identical. Yue said that he creates clay figurines purely out of interest and doesn't want it become a boring laborious work without any creativity. Therefore, 90% of his works are not for sale. These clay figurines are like his children, and to him every sale is upsetting, almost like losing a child.

As a representative inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage clay sculpture in Gansu, he actually taught himself the craft. He grew up in the countryside far away from the big city, and the primitive life there fostered his preference for living a simple and tranquil life. He says that he is satisfied with his life now, as he has enough time to make his favorite clay sculptures.

The figurines he made are also very solid and shock-proof, which means they aren't easily broken, as the mud he use is local red clay from Lanzhou.

Yue teaches several apprentices for free, but for his successor, he has set five requirements that include a rich imagination, an eye for beauty, artistic skill, literature foundation and craftsmanship. Though people who meet all five requirements are rare, Yue said he will wait patiently for one to appear.


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(Editor:Wu Chengliang,Yao Chun)

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