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Happy faces that have lasted for 70 years

THE Franciscan Sister Maria Innocentia, better known as Berta Hummel, would be very happy if she knew how people cherish the joyful, whimsical figurines of happy children she created.

To celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of Sister Hummel, who died in 1946 at the young age of 37, the Manufacture Rodental Company has specially created "Feeding Time," a figurine featuring a chubby-cheeked country girl happily feeding chickens around her feet. Only 1,250 of these pieces are available worldwide.

Thomas Gunther, chief painter for Hummel figurines, flew all the way to Shanghai from Germany last week to show his amazing techniques at Plaza 66 on Nanjing Road W.

"I have worked in this special area for three decades," Gunther says. "I am very familiar with the expressions of these 'little children' based on the drafts of Sister Hummel. Every step has to be strictly followed in the process including a respect for the original colors."

The charming figurines are on show at Exclusivites in the shopping mall.

Born in 1909 in the small picturesque village of Massing, Bavaria, Sister Hummel spent her spare time painting pictures of radiant, chubby-cheeked children. She captured them in carefree times of play, or tramping joyously through leaves or snow, or enjoying one another's company. These pictures were later made into popular postcards and then the porcelain figurines.

"She portrayed moments of childhood that are stored in everyone's memory, stirring up the innocence of one's own childhood," Gunther says. "In fact, her art continues to glory these fresh and youthful experiences."

But it is not easy to inherit the essence of the pictures from Sister Hummel.

"You must devote yourself to Hummel and learn the story, the background, the colors from the drawings," he says. "I can't say why Hummel is so attractive to me, but I can tell you I love it."

Today the Hummel figurines have prevailed for 70 years and are coveted by collectors all over the world.

"I know there is a Hummel figurine club even in China, I hope that these lovely and cute faces will evoke eternal beauty and innocence from mankind," he says.

Opening hours: 10am-10pm

Address: 420, Exclusivites, Plaza 66, 1266 Nanjing Rd W.


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