Clay rabbits on display

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 September, 2009, 12:00am

An exhibition is showcasing 60 traditional Beijing clay rabbits over the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The exhibition also features modern clay rabbits made by 100 Hong Kong schoolchildren.

There will be a workshop on Sunday at 2pm by clay rabbit master Xuang Yan, from Beijing, who will teach basic skills used in making the figurines.

The craft dates back to the Yuan dynasty.

Later, in the Ming dynasty, people believed the clay rabbits brought fortune and good health.

In Chinese mythology, a jade rabbit lives on the moon with the moon goddess Chang'e, constantly pounding the elixir of life for her.

The shape of the rabbit is also a popular design for lanterns during the festival.

Xuang said the craft was briefly lost for three decades from the 1950s onwards due to political turmoil. His father drew on his childhood memories to bring the craft back in the 1980s and passed down the skills to him, he said.

'Lots of precious Chinese folk arts were not handed down from generation to generation and were eventually lost due to political or social changes,' Xuang said.

'Making rabbit figurines as protection against evil is an ancient art. The craft was lost for more than 30 years. It is very fortunate it has been restored.'

The clay rabbit has been listed as part of China's 'intangible cultural heritage'.

The exhibition runs until October 11 at Park Central, Tseung Kwan O