In Chinese culture tigers are symbolic of strength and consequently are a preferred theme for stuffed animals, hats, pillows, and shoes. The Chinese character hu, meaning tiger, is often sewn onto clothing as a play on its homonym, which is the word for wealth. The symbol then becomes symbolic for both strength and wealth (Minick and Ping 20).
To maintain interest in her products, Liu continuously creates new designs for cloth toys. During the Zodiac year of the pig she made cloth pigs, and in 2008 she made cloth rats to honor the year of the rat. Liu has included the Olympic rings on some of the rats as a tie-in with the Beijing Olympics.
Liu says that hard work building her toy business is recognized by the government. Respect, attention, and several awards from the government reward the passion that Liu invests in her work. Despite the potential danger that modernization presents to folk art, Liu is optimistic that folk art will be part of modern life.
Minick, Scott and Ping, Jiao. Arts and Crafts of China. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1996.