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I recently visited a special handcraft shop. Its name is ¡°Sheng Tang Xuan¡±, which means ¡°flourishing shop owned by the Tang Family¡±.
I soon found that the shop owner, Mrs. Tang, was a woman with many talents. Her father was especially renowned as a toymaker who entered the family business of toy-making at 13 .Her family shop had a very long history, and was famous for stuffed flannel animals for more than 300 years.
After years of just operating a small booth, Mrs. Yang finally opened a shop 2002, many in the media reported the grand opening. Master Tang, Mrs. Tang¡¯s father, had crafts collected by the Central Arts Museum and the Capital Museum of Beijing. His life story was even told in the New York Times.
As the Tang family used to be battle flag holders in the army, their artworks are made from materials cheap to get: clay, paper, wood, and flannel. However, the process of making the toy required patience and intricate techniques. So they¡¯re is difficult to copy.
A typical Tang artwork is the ¡°Golden foal¡±, which shows a golden ingot on the back of the foal. In old Beijing, this a symbol of richness, so every year the local people would worship in the temple, and invited the foal back home for the hope of more fortune.
Other toys include the furry monkey, the grandpa rabbit, and the runninglight. Each has its own unique story and history.
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