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chui tang ren (吹糖人)

Chinese term for ‘blowing sugar’, a traditional folk art in China, in which the artist uses a mouth blowing technique, similar to that of glass blowing, in order to create various kinds of figures, such as animals, out of molten sugar (fig.). To create these figures, the artist blows into the open end of a small tube, while he attaches a fudge-like mass of sugar on the other end. To be successful, the temperature of the sugar is crucial: if the it is too high, the figure will not be firm and will collapse, yet if too low, then it will be to hard to sculpt the sugar mass. Though a disappearing trade, artists still perform and sell their sweet artworks on markets or at traditional festivals.