The Spring Festival Temple Fair opened at the Shenzhen Children's Palace in Futian District on Sunday.
More than 50 traditional and rare Chinese crafts attracted a large crowd to the 10-day fair, which includes shadow plays, sugar dolls, Sichuan Opera rapid face changes, a puppet show from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), modeling clay and wood figures, and acrobatics.
The fair, to run until Feb. 15, has 40 booths inside the palace displaying folk culture.
Hundreds of prestigious masters from all over the country stage live shows, such as Yu Qingcheng, a master in clay figures from Tianjin, Li Jianli, well known for a monkey performance, Han Fang of good repute in pottery figures.
Visitors can learn unique skills for free at the fair and make their own block-print New Year pictures, clay figures and play puppet shows.
Because of limited space and fears of overcrowding, the organizing committee canceled outdoor activities that were to include a traditional snack street, car exhibition, bar street, flower market, children's park, teahouses and stalls.
Temple fairs have been traditional public events in China around festival holidays for centuries.
The fairs used to be religious ceremonies to offer sacrifices but have now developed into modern festivals with fun-filled celebrations and entertainment, featuring a host of folk art traditions.
(Shenzhen Daily February 7, 2005)