Corn Dolls | 粟米衣娃娃
A lot of people know that corn is a tasty food, but few know that the cob and ears of corn also have medicinal values. Even fewer people know that corn sheaths have been used by women in rural China to make baskets and containers while women folks in Europe have been using it to create corn dolls for aesthetic value. A corn on cob is protected by layers of sheaths just like the layersof clothes worn by people. It is no wonder that women folks in the countryside have been usingcorn sheaths to make dolls. Twenty something years ago, I saw an old man selling corn dolls by the roadside in the city of Belgrade and I bought twelve dolls from him. I gave away half of the corn dolls to my friends as souvenirs, and I kept half of them. Today I still keep the six corn dolls intact at my place. Little did I know that I have taken up the art of DIY corn doll and have beendoing it ever since.
My husband loves excursions and we often go hiking together. In our hikes, we seldom fail tonotice the variety of local trees, flowers, fruit, and seeds in season. My younger brother,George, is an avid plant enthusiast who knows quite a bit about the taxonomy of wild plants in Hong Kong’s countryside. Naturally the leaves, fruit and seeds we picked up from the wild turn out to be theraw materials for the corn dolls. My brother identified the fruit and seeds, and then the corn dollsI made became our green ambassadors. They were named after the plants I used, such
as Oak Fairy (Thick-leaved Oak),Dichroa Fairy (Antifebrile Dichroa), White Popinac Fairy, Fern Fairy, Bougainvillea Fairy (Brazil Bougainvillea) and so on.
If one is to promote environmental education to the younger generations, it takes much more than hard selling by reason. It takes a passion for plants and compassion for life on Earth. That is the drive for the protection of the environment. With this hope in mind, I teach others the making of DIY corn dolls and ask them to give it a try, and feel, for themselves, the natural gifts of the planet and, at the same time, experience the secrets of Nature, our Home. As Sir David Attenborough said, “No one will protect what they don’t care about; no one will care about what they have never experienced.”
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