It might be hard to imagine that all these delicate works of art are actually made by this pair of strong hands that are typical to a Beijinger in his 60s.
Liang Daxing, originally a tailor, has devoted himself to making cloth tigers in his retirement, though his passion for this folk art form began much earlier.
At a young age, a travel-loving Liang trudged along the Yellow River in the provinces of Shanxi and Shaanxi, where he first came upon this delightful folk art form.
Cloth tigers have been amusing Chinese children for thousands of years way back before they were watching cartoons and playing video games.
The Tiger, a symbol that can drive away evil spirits and protect fortune, is the most favored animal featured among similar cloth toy creations. According to Liang, who used to run a small shop selling his handcrafts, foreigners also love this traditional Chinese toy.
“The foreigners especially love this a lot .”
“I used to teach a French lady how to make cloth tigers. But in the process, she also inspired me with her particular designs. I found her designs very interesting. She decorated these toys with her customs, and I have since used her design, too.”
“Another Russian lady really likes Chinese folk arts, and knows a lot of noted people in the area. I enjoy talking to her. She comes to my place every time she comes to Beijing. I admired her devotion in studying Chinese culture.”
“There is an American guy who speaks great Chinese. He loved my ‘Wudu’ (the five poisonous) frog pillow. It is a pillow for infants made in the shape of a frog. These patterns are hand embroidered. The five poisonous animals are spider, centipede, scorpion, snake, and gecko. They are used to drive away the evil spirits, because Chinese believe the poisonous evil can drive out the evil.
“In the middle there is a small hole, so that when the infant sleeps, he/she can put their ear in this hole, and lie low, it can be put behind the brain in here. How neat a design is that!”
“Mr. Liu, Chinese Consul to New York, once told his companions during a visit to my shop that despite the low costs of the stuff I make, it’s indeed a valuable name card for China when presented to foreign friends.”
Indeed Liang’s handcrafts have become such a good name card, they are now presented to foreign guests by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, delighting young and old alike.