Sugar Painting

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

sugar painting is a Chinese folk art involving the creation of real and fantastic animals such as horses and dragons, as well as birds, flowers, and, more recently, bicycles, out of caramelized rock sugar. Practitioners trickle the hot caramelized liquid from a metal ladle onto a marble board or slab, working fast and with a sure hand because of temperature constraints that make it impossible to conceal or correct mistakes. Generally found in urban settings at markets and in parks, as well as at temple fairs, sugar painting is especially popular with children, who sometimes spin a wheel to select their model.