Intangible Cultural Heritage | Sugar Painting


The development of the sugar painting art is a long process, and every change in the form of sugar painting reflects the changes in the social life. Nowadays, the art of sugar painting is not only different from the past in form, but also extremely rich in content. Sugar painting is also a reflection of historical and cultural customs. Based on the continuous improvement of people's quality of life, the art of sugar painting is gradually replaced by new things, but it is worth noting that the art of sugar painting has drawn attention of people from all walks of life and it is nowadays listed as an intangible cultural heritage.

The traditional subjects of sugar painting creation include mythological figures, ancestors and sages, animals, auspicious flowers and fruits, auspicious patterns, etc. After a long development, they have been integrated and combined with other cultural techniques such as traditional calligraphy, shadow puppets, carving, and paper-cutting to shape a variety of lively and symbolic image or shapes. Although the sugar paintings have their own characteristics and symbolic meanings, they are all symbols of traditional Chinese culture.

At the very beginning, sugar paintings were used as offerings to ancestor's worship and spirits to pray for blessings or to bless future generations. Sacrifice culture is also one of the folk cultures where people often make offerings to carry their good wishes, such as health and longevity. Therefore, sugar painting is often found in festivals such as funerals, birthdays, weddings, temple fairs, and annual festivals, adding to the atmosphere while also conveying good wishes. Sugar painting is also an important carrier of folk culture inheritance. Folk culture is the basis for the survival of sugar painting, while sugar painting can also reflect folk life.

Nowadays, with the development of the times, the content of sugar painting has become richer, which also reflects the use of folk art in folk life. Sugar painting culture is mostly reflected in the good moral, often as a representative of the festive culture. It is not only popular among children, but it also carries the spiritual aspirations of adults for happiness and auspiciousness. In the traditional festivals, it can also add a peaceful atmosphere. For example, some classic themes, prosperity brought by the dragon and the phoenix, prosperity in the new year, etc., whose names and patterns reflect the strong emotions and beautiful longing for life. There is even a creative idea of drawing the names of people and blessings in the sugar paintings, reflecting the social needs of personality and fashion.