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Cultural Heritage / Tradition / Trip Ideas / Video

Rabbit God: Mid-Autumn Toy in Beijing

By Cao Mingjin

September 30

Tu’er Ye, or the Rabbit God, is a symbol of old Beijing. Figurines depicting the Rabbit God are usually sold during the Mid-autumn Festival in Beijing. The figurines are said to bring good luck, good health, and safety. We have invited a fifth generation clay Rabbit God sculptor to tell us more about the history and story of the Rabbit God.

Tu’er Ye, or the Rabbit God, is a symbol of old Beijing. Figurines depicting the Rabbit God are usually sold during the Mid-autumn Festival in Beijing. The figurines are said to bring good luck, good health, and safety. We have invited a fifth generation clay Rabbit God sculptor to tell us more about the history and story of the Rabbit God.

With a history of more than 400 years, the Rabbit God has witnessed the growth of generations of Beijingers. It’s a must-have toy for Beijing’s children during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

According to legend, there was a severe plague in Beijing. No doctor could cure the disease. Then a jade hare from the moon palace descended to the earth and saved everyone’s lives. People in Beijing were able to get back to their normal lives after this. To thank the Rabbit God, they would worship her during Mid-Autumn festival by placing a jade rabbit statue at home. Children would pray to the Rabbit God statue for health and good luck in the future.

It takes a whole year to finish a Rabbit God from the first step of getting your hands on the raw materials.

First, we need to prepare the material — clay, which needs to be shelved for a period of time before being used.

Second, make the clay base only by hand and dry it in the air instead of firing it.

Then the base will be trimmed, polished and painted.

It needs a white base-coat, before color can be applied. First paint the features and then the hairs, clothes and stand.

Finally, it’s time to stick in the ears and flag, and the little Rabbit God is finished.

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