她不是「洋」娃娃

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1990 / 3月

文‧張瓊方 圖‧黃麗梨


元月十七日下午,一位娃娃「誕生」在文建會藝廊堙A包括中華婦女蘭藝社社長俞董梅真與孫運璿夫人、陳履安夫人、郭南宏夫人等多位政府首長夫人與各大媒體記者都來迎接她的降臨。

 

這位不在醫院、卻在文建會誕生,又集眾首長夫人寵愛、各大媒體記者矚目焦點於一身的娃娃究竟是誰?


「梅蘭」,雖不是個「真娃娃」,但也不是許多人家中小女孩手上的「洋娃娃」。她約十五、六歲,柳葉眉、單鳳眼、櫻桃小嘴,鵝蛋臉上掛兩個可愛的小酒窩,嬌羞中帶點兒俏皮……,任誰見了都會說真是個十足的中國女孩兒。

原來梅蘭是個「中國娃娃」,一個中國娃娃的「誕生」為何如此隆重?

中國小孩玩洋娃娃

中國娃娃「梅蘭」的催生者——中華婦女蘭藝社社長俞董梅真表示,從小到大,中國小孩玩的是黃頭髮、藍眼睛的洋娃娃,藝品店奡N算有少數一、兩個中國造型娃娃,也都只用做擺飾,並不具代表性。

有一次她和俞國華先生到瓜地馬拉、多明尼加等地訪問,看到當地都有代表民族色彩的小黑娃娃,相當有意思,更加深了她的感觸:「為什麼我們的小孩沒有屬於自己民族特色的玩偶?」她說,回國後她跟蘭藝社社員們商討的結果,決定要設計一個具有中國特色的娃娃,梅蘭的構想因此產生。

俞董梅真女士表示:「設計中國娃娃不是在選中國小姐,因此我們不要她最漂亮,而要她可愛、氣質清新、具有代表性。」

長相要有代表性,名字也不例外。梅花,不畏嚴寒,又是我們的國花;蘭花則出自空谷、不因無人而不芬芳。取名「梅蘭」除了親切順口,更有象徵中國女性忠貞、堅忍的意味。

至於請誰來設計一個能代表中國的娃娃呢?俞董梅真想起了七十七年在市立美術館有過一面之緣的陳慧燕,「當時她在市立美術館舉行粉塑藝術展,看了她的十八羅漢、百子圖……等中國造型麵人,給我留下很深刻的印象。」

透過市立美術館找到了陳慧燕,原本對中國造型娃娃就情有獨鍾的她,得知中華婦女蘭藝社的構想後,欣然接下了「中國娃娃」的設計工作。

陳慧燕與粉塑藝術

陳慧燕從事粉塑藝術工作已有八年之久。粉塑藝術其實源自「捏麵人」。民國七十七年,陳慧燕的捏麵作品通過審核,得以在市立美術館展出,使得向來只能在廟前廣場展售的街頭藝術「捏麵人」,首度進入了「藝術殿堂」。

從事類似捏麵這種漸趨沒落、不被重視的藝術工作,陳慧燕曾經想放棄,但在七十四年隨觀光局赴歐美表演捏麵藝術之後,陳慧燕不僅打消了放棄的念頭,甚至決心提升捏麵人在國人心中的地位。

陳慧燕激動地說:「長久以來不被重視的捏麵,在外國人眼堳o是一種『有價值』的藝術,為了看我表演製作過程,不少人在攤位前站一整天。」就是這份感動,讓陳慧燕在這條寂寞的路上走下去。

多年來陳慧燕將全部的精神與心力都投注在捏麵創作上,復興美工科畢業的她,本著美學素養、工筆人物畫的基礎,無論在造型、材料、用色上都有不同於以往的創新。

所謂捏麵人,就是以塑捏和雕刻配合運用,使麵團具造型。陳慧燕則首創以國畫堛疑C料來染麵;更在麵堨[些材料,使過去只能維持三個月的麵人能保存廿、卅年不壞,造型方面也將原始平面的麵人立體化。此外,她更嘗試用麵人來翻模。

對中國民俗文物有研究的夏元瑜認為,陳慧燕已將古舊的捏麵藝術脫胎換骨,她的作品不僅講究面部神情、人體結構、肉骨起伏、古代服飾和髮式,同時採用靈巧的塑捏雕刻手法,作品中細如眉髮甚至睫毛,全都是以手工一根根捏塑而成,與過去原始簡單的「捏麵人」大不相同。這樣的藝術創作實在不能以原始的「捏麵人」來稱呼它,於是夏元瑜為它取名為「粉塑藝術」。

巧手慧心捏娃娃

陳慧燕的粉塑藝術作品以人物為主,中華婦女蘭藝社委託她設計「中國娃娃」,對她而言正是遊刃有餘。

「中國娃娃」從設計到完成,總共花費將近半年時間。最初的兩個月,陳慧燕忙著研究故宮中國古代仕女圖中仕女的臉形、五官及各朝代服飾,從中找出具代表性的中國服飾和娃娃臉形。經過多次討論、定案後,才開始畫草圖、著手製作。

整個製作過程當中,最困難的是娃娃神情的拿捏。陳慧燕表示,如何抓住十五、六歲少女的純真韻味,對她而言是較大的考驗。好幾次失敗,都是因為娃娃的臉部神情過於成熟。

憑著一雙巧手,陳燕慧終於捏出了中國娃娃臉上那股少女的純真。平均一個娃娃要花費四十小時,在倒數計時的幾天堙A她幾乎是醒來就捏,捏到累了、睏了為止。好不容易在預定的時間內完成了五種造型的中國娃娃。

梅蘭的五種造型

陳慧燕表示,原本希望能將五個造型的中國娃娃做到五官一致,但由於最後趕製的結果,其中一、兩個娃娃的五官稍有不同,雖不仔細比對不易察覺,但作者仍感覺有些許「美中不足」。

經過半年的努力,中國娃娃「梅蘭」終於展現在國人面前。

首次公開亮相的梅蘭,身著五套不同風味的中國服飾展現。

第一套服飾以古代新娘服為藍本,鳳冠霞帔、喜氣洋洋,充分展現了梅蘭的古典美。第二套是清代的貴妃服飾,清代衣物做工細膩、華麗大方,具有濃厚的民族色彩。第三套著鳳仙裝,鳳仙裝是民初服飾,俏皮中仍不失典雅氣質。第四套為民初藍布衣,通俗可愛,很能反映民初家居服飾的特色。第五套是旗袍,旗袍原是清朝服飾,幾經改良後流傳至今,已成最具代表性的中國服飾。

至於「中國娃娃」首度亮相的成果如何?從發表會現場來賓紛紛詢問:「那埵陰o買?」就可以得知她受歡迎的程度了。

娃娃小、意義大

雖然有些人對目前粉塑造型的中國娃娃「不能動」、「不能換穿衣服」感到失望,「但這項工作只是剛開始」,陳慧燕表示,不久中國娃娃將以瓷器、陶器、塑膠…等不同材質大量製造,屆時就能滿足大家的需求。

俞董梅真也表示,中華婦女蘭藝社也會再推出一個五、六歲的中國娃娃——蘭蘭,也就是梅蘭的妹妹,使這個「家族性」的構想能不斷地延續下去。

更重要的是,讓中國小孩換掉懷中金髮藍眼的「芭比」,改抱「梅蘭」,為她換穿種朝代的衣飾,讓梅蘭真正走入生活,則是她們更大的心願。

〔圖片說明〕

P.20

中國娃娃梅蘭以五種不同造型跟大家見面。

P.22

中華婦女蘭藝社社長俞董梅真及為梅蘭題字的陳丹誠教授。(俞董梅真提供)

P.22

(左)在中華婦女蘭藝社舉辦的新春茶會上,陳慧燕現場表演捏麵藝術。

P.23

(右)「梅蘭」贏得許多在場人士的讚賞。(鐘永和攝)

P.24

平均一個娃娃花費四十小時,陳慧燕憑著巧手和簡單的工具創造了梅蘭。

P.26

十八羅漢個個豪氣干雲、瀟灑不羈,有別於梅蘭的嬌媚。(陳慧燕提供)

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Debut of a Uniquely Chinese Doll

Chang Chung-fang /photos courtesy of Huang Li-li /tr. by Andrew Morton

On January 7 a little girl was "born" in the Council for Cultural Planning Development's Culture Gallery in Taipei. Among those present to witness the event were the president of the Women's Garden Art Club of the ROC, Madame Yu Tung Mei-chen, along with the wives of government ministers such as Chen Li-an and Kuo Nan-hung, plus reporters from the mass media.

Just who was this girl whose birth occurred not in a hospital but in an art gallery and who attracted such attention from prominent society ladies and the media?


"Mei-lan" is not a real girl, but she is not a doll of the kind children normally play with either. She looks about 16 or 17, has long curving eyebrows, lovely eyes, a cherry mouth and an oval face with two adorable dimples. Her sweet looks show a love of mischief. . . . At a glance anyone would say she was a wholly Chinese girl.

For Mei-lan is a Chinese doll.

Madame Yu Tung Mei-chen, president of the Women's Garden Art Club of the ROC and Mei-lan's godmother, explains that every Chinese child always plays with blond-haired, blue-eyed Western dolls.

Once on a visit to Guatemala and Dominica with her husband, former Premier Yu Kuo-hwa, she was intrigued to see little black dolls which looked more like the local people. It occurred to her, "Why don't our children have toys with their own ethnic features?" After returning to Taiwan she discussed the idea with the members of her Garden & Art Club and they decided to design a specifically Chinese doll.

Madame Yu Tung Mei-lan comments, "Designing a Chinese doll wasn't like picking a Miss ROC, because we weren't going for beautiful looks. We wanted her to be lovable, fresh-natured and typically Chinese."

If her looks were to be typically Chinese, so was her name. "Mei" means plum-blossom, which blooms in bitterly cold weather and is the ROC's national flower. "Lan" means an orchid, which displays its beauty and perfume in isolated valleys. The name "Mei-lan" has a familiar ring and aptly symbolizes the virtues of Chinese womanhood.

Who was to design this typically Chinese doll? Madame Yu Tung Mei-chen remembered meeting the sculptress Ch'en Hui-yen at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in 1988. "Her exhibition of dough children at play made a deep impression on me."

Ch'en Hui-yen has been making dough figurines for eight years. In 1988 her work was approved for exhibition at Taipei Fine Arts Museum, marking the first time that the humble dough figurine, more commonly offered for sale by peddlers at temples, had gained access to the palace of fine art.

Ch'en Hui-yen had been tempted to abandon this declining and little respected form of folk art, but after being sent by the Tourism Bureau to demonstrate her skills in Europe and America in 1985 she decided to enhance the standing of dough sculpture in the minds of her countrymen.

With warmth Ch'en Hui-yen says, "Dough sculpture has long been looked down on by the Chinese, but to foreigners it is a valuable art form. Queues of people waited all day in front of my stall to watch me demonstrate the process."

For many years Ch'en Hui-yen has put her whole being into creative dough sculpture, resulting in a host of fresh innovations in terms of form, materials and coloring.

Dough sculpture involves molding and carving dough into shape. Ch'en Hui-yen broke new ground by staining her dough figures with pigments used in traditional Chinese painting. She also added other materials to the dough to enable her figurines to last for 20 or 30 years without deteriorating, instead of the normal three months. Other innovations have included introducing a truly three-dimensional feel and experimenting with molds.

In the opinion of Hsia Yuan-yu, an expert on Chinese folk artifacts, Ch'en Hui-yen has transformed the ancient art of modelling dough figurines. She pays close attention to facial expression, physical structure, musculature, old clothing and hair styles, and even details such as eyebrows and eyelashes are painstakingly sculpted hair by hair. This is indeed dough sculpture as opposed to the old dough figure modelling.

The Chinese doll took nearly six months from design to completion. For the first two months Ch'en Hui-yen studied the features and clothing of court ladies in paintings at the National Palace Museum to derive a typically Chinese face and attire. After much discussion and sketching a rough draft based on the final decision, she began work in earnest.

The hardest part of the whole process was modelling the doll's expression. Ch'en Hui-yen recalls it was a big personal challenge for her to capture the unspoilt features of a teenage girl.

But six months of hard work later "Mei-lan" at last made her public debut.

At her first public appearance Mei-lan was kitted out with five quite different costumes.

The first costume, based on bridal dress, includes an elaborate headdress and shows Mei-lan in a mood of happy graciousness. The second costume, that of a Ch'ing dynasty court lady, is sumptuously designed in meticulous detail. The third costume is based on the fashion of the early Republican period, smart but elegantly restrained. The fourth costume consists of a plain blue dress of the early Republican period reflecting ordinary family life of the time. The fifth costume is a cheongsam, originally worn in the Ch'ing dynasty but still popular today, a typically Chinese style of women's dress.

Some people were disappointed that Mei-lan could not move or her clothes be changed. "But we are only at the beginning," says Ch'en Hui-yen. Soon the Chinese doll will be available in porcelain, clay and plastic. Then everyone will be satisfied.

Madame Yu Tung Mei-chen has unveiled plans by the Women's Garden
Art Club of the ROC to promote another Chinese doll called "Lan-lan."she will be a 5-or 6-year-old sister to Mei-lan, ensuring that the doll family will continue to develop.

The main thing is to encourage Chinese children to drop their blond, blue-eyed Barbie dolls in favor of Mei-lan, whom they can dress in costumes of different periods and who can truly become a part of their lives.

[Picture Caption]

Chinese doll "Mei-lan" makes her debut in five different guises.

Madame Yu Tung Mei-chen, president of the Women's Garden Art Club of the ROC, together with Prof. Ch'en Tan-cheng, who picked the name "Mei-lan."

(Left) Ch'en Hui-yen demonstrates her dough modelling art at a spring tea-tasting party organized by the Women's Garden Art Club of the ROC.

(Right) "Mei-lan" won fulsome praise at her debut. (photo by Chung Yung-ho)

Taking an average of 40 hours per doll, Ch'en Hui-yen fashioned "Mei-lan" with just her skillfull fingers and simple tools.

Each of these 18 Lohans has an air of refinement and individuality, exhibiting a charm quite different from that of "Mei-lan." (photo courtesy of Ch'en Hui-yen)

 

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