10-02-2006 14:43

In Chinese, "maohou monkey" is a cute name for a little kid. But actually, "maohou" is a form of folk art, invented by the restless son of an apothecary. Today's "CHINA COOL" takes you to meet "maohou" artist Qiu Yisheng.

"Maohou" is not a true animal, but a puppet built with cicada shells and magnolia buds. With slender limbs and tail, "maohou" monkeys are undeniably cute.

The first was designed in the Qing Dynasty, in a Beijing herbal medicine shop. As the shopkeeper was too frugal to provide toys, his son produced a little monkey with a magnolia bud for a body, and cicada shells as limbs. Surprisingly the boss did not become angry when he saw it, but was interested, and systematized the "maohou"-making process.