Dough sculpture master passes tradition to younger generation in Shanxi

By Sun Ruisheng and Zhou Huiying (


A display of Wang Dongmei's dough sculptures. [Photo by Wang Fan for]

Over the past years, Wang Dongmei has created numerous dough sculptures and taught numerous students across the country via live-streaming platforms.

Wang, a provincial-level inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage in Lanxian county of Lvliang city, Shanxi province, has had a better life due to her exquisite skills in making dough sculptures.

She uses wheat flour as a base and adds water to make the dough after fermentation, which is then shaped, kneaded and pinched by hand or using simple tools such as scissors and bamboo sticks to form lifelike sculptures.


Wang Dongmei works on a dough sculpture. [Photo by Wang Fan for]

Dough sculpture in the county has a long history of over 1,000 years.

The sculpture has become the most important symbol for local residents during important moments, such as festivals and folk activities.

In 2020, the county built a dough sculpture street to strive to create local characteristic cultural industry brand.

According to the local government, they have created a special industry cluster that focuses on intangible cultural heritage. This cluster includes workshops, industries that help reduce rural poverty, and various activities related to cultural heritage. Other developments include the preservation and demonstration of intangible cultural heritage, cultural tourism experiences, and industries that reflect local characteristics, as well as research, development, promotion, and sales of related products.


Wang Dongmei's students show their dough sculptures. [Photo by Wang Fan for]