Suzhou clay figurine craft, formerly also known as “Huqiu clay figurine” mainly spread in the Huqiu mountain area, Suzhou.
There isn’t any record of the founding of Huqiu clay figurines. However, according to the Tong Bridge Yizhao Record written by Gu Lu in Qing Dynasty, the clay figurine craft “was created by Yang Huizhi in Tang Dynasty. So far there is more than one clay figurine craftsman in Huqiu mountain area,” and it also said that Suzhou clay figurine craft “was established by Yuan Yuchang in the Song Dynasty. Yuan specialized in making clay beauty, clay baby figures and other characters in stories. The figurines are about 10 cm-16 cm in size, with colorful paintings...He is like clay God, clay Buddha, and can make mud devil, flower, tree, clay fruit, mud bird, animal, and arhat...” . According to the Wuxian county Local History, “Yuan Yuchang in the Song Dynasty, born in Mudu, in Suzhou, is renowned for claying babies around the country”. During the Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty, the clay figurine in Suzhou gradually declined. However, at present, more measures are planned to restore the Suzhou clay figurine.
Suzhou clay figurine originated from the Chinese historical and cultural ancient city—Suzhou. Suzhou is an important central city in the Yangtze River Delta, and also a national cultural and scenic tourist city. Suzhou clay figurine along with the clay figurine in Fuyang town, Chaozhou city in Guangdong province, Tianjin mud man Zhang, Wuxi Huishan mud man are known as the four major clay figurines in China, and all of them boast a long, brilliant history and prominent position in Chinese culture. After two thousand years of development, Suzhou clay figurine has established distinctive characteristics and firm clay sculpture status.