Haarige Affen

Foto: Volker Stanislaw
Foto: Volker Stanislaw

Originated in Daoguang Period of the Qing Dynasty, the making of hairy monkeys, otherwise known as „Chinese Cicada Slough“, is a folk handicraft unique to Beijing.

Legend has it that one day, a salesclerk of a drug store in Beijing was bored and had nothing to do. He then fiddled around with some Chinese medicines. He made a monkey’s head with cicada slough heads, its body with magnolia flower buds (or flos magnolia) after living through the winter and its limbs with cicada slough claws. A hairy monkey was born. The boss of the drugstore found the „creation“ very interesting. From then on, these ingredients were wrapped together for sale as „monkey materials“ and making „hairy monkeys“ were handed down as a folk handicraft.

The hairy monkeys are cute and lovely. What’s more, they are made with materials fairly easy to come by. You can also craft a whole lot more living creatures with these simple materials. The monkeys are actually symbols of humans, reflecting social phenomena, human feelings and emotions in this world.

Thanks to their diverse body languages endowed by their creators, the hairy monkeys, full of life and humor, represent Chinese street cultures and traditions, mirroring the pleasure, anger, sorrow, joy and life experiences of the human society.

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