Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Chinese Man With Abacus

I've veered away storybook characters for this year's ornament.  Instead, my inspiration comes from the classes my nephew is taking at the Chinese Immersion school.  

I had made a Chinese man many years ago for my godson and initially thought to do something similar.  Both ornaments are Chinese characters, but went in different directions.  I'm quite happy with the end results, even with the struggle to get there!

I had a terrible time with body proportions.  Feet are too big.  He ended up with a short torso and is kind of fat.  Plus his hands are huge!  The big floppy sleeves were an unexpected challenge.  Plus, as I stated in the prior post, this is head number three.  I had all my technical issues with the basic body - after that, the rest came together.

I really liked his hair bun - I wanted to do something more elaborate, but was afraid it would break off.  I put a twist in the hook so it wouldn't interfere with the guy's hair stick (it seemed a shame if I made that detail, then hid it behind the ornament hook).

Because of his portly girth, I nearly went with grey hair.  He'd have made a good old man.  At this point, the ornament was too bulky to add a dragon at his feet.  Instead I gave him an abacus.  I had a bunch of little seed beads that I thought would be just the right size.  I had to pre-bake the abacus frame with holes for the wire (the mystery item in the prior post).  I made it a little too narrow for the proper number of beads (which I am sure my nephew will notice) - but it looks great!  I'm quite pleased with how that came out.  I love that the beads rattle around.

While researching hanfu outfits, I discovered belt decorations were to help hold down the skirt in addition to looking really cool.  I enjoyed making the jade ring and the red tassel.  The decorations were a lot more fun to do than the arms and head!

Once he was baked, I painted the white soles to his shoes and some gold trim to his outfit. 


If you are interested, I have some very old blog posts about my ornaments:  an assortment of animals, my nephew's collection, and how I make them.  

But you can simply skip to the finished photos - go to the Sculpey Album (which includes the other Chinese man).


  1. Wow! He is fantastic! Very nice.
    The hands look lovely as mittens. Finger detail is what I've seen that make hands look too big.

  2. Oh, I think your little C hinese man ornament is fabulous! How fun he is holding an abacus. He has so much detail, Sally. Love the belt holding his skirt down. We simply cannot have his dress blowing open. =) Fabulous belt....the jade ring and tassel are great. I think his hands and feet are perfect and love his hair and beard, too. How fun. You have a talent in fashioning ornaments. Your nephew is going to love his ornament.

  3. Sally, he is fantastic! I didn't guess a Chinese man from your earlier post, although I was thinking that looked a bit like an abacus. Your attention to detail is really amazing! How cool that your nephew is going to Chinese immersion school - hope he loves his ornament!

  4. I was looking forward the yearly ornament unveil. I think he turned out fabulous. You are so talented.


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