Post-80s artist carries forward, innovates traditional Chinese clay sculptures

(People's Daily Online) 15:10, October 09, 2021
Post-80s artist carries forward, innovates traditional Chinese clay sculptures
Photo shows Li Shijie's clay sculptures featuring heroes from the Sui and Tang dynasties. (Photo courtesy of Li Shijie)

"By adopting traditional skills and artistic forms, I have strived to make my work more interesting and innovative," said Li Shijie, a folk artisan from Changzhi city, north China's Shanxi province.

Li's clay sculptures displayed in her studio include handiwork featuring traditional opera actors, landmarks in Changzhi city, as well as animals and cartoon characters that have enjoyed much popularity among children.

Li recalled that her fascination towards traditional Chinese art dates back to her childhood. "My grandmother was a big fan of traditional Chinese art herself. She was good at embroidery, paper cutting and making steamed flower-shaped buns," recalled Li, adding that her interest in handicraft art was nurtured under the influence of her granny.

In 2016, when Li happened to notice that there was a specialized clay sculpture course offered in her neighborhood, she immediately signed up. Since then, she has dedicated herself to learning clay sculpture skills.

During the process, Li did not confine her creations to traditional figurine forms, but made some additional innovations herself. For instance, she introduced cartoon elements into her creations. "Since children are very interested in artifacts, I decided to make some clay sculptures in the form of cartoons, so as to stimulate their interest in this art form," Li explained.

These days, Li is also seeking to integrate the traditional culture of Changzhi city into her creations. "I hope to carry forward the local culture of Changzhi through my efforts," said the artist. 


(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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