The techniques used to produce mud dolls are passed down through the generations. Nie Xiewei learned this craft from a neighbor at age ten, but his grandfather made mud toys as well. All of his children know how to make the toys, and his grandchildren are often involved in their production.
While Nie’s dolls were once primarily sold at markets to children during the Spring Festival, their demand has increased among wholesalers and collectors. As communication and government support increases within rural villages, crafts such as Nie’s attract international attention. What began as a hobby for Nie is now both a solid way to earn a living and a source of tremendous pride.