In this stiff, predictable, theatrical version of a warped Chinese morality play, Master Chang and his sister occupy the lowest echelons of society, even though both are gifted artists. Chang makes clay images, and his talent is recognized at the Chinese court (just before it falls), and at one of his trips into the Imperial Palace, he meets Zhao Canghai, an unscrupulous art dealer who convinces him to market his statues in the dealer's shop. When Chang later finds out that the dealer is selling his work as antiques and making a huge profit in the bargain, he gets furious, breaks their business deal, and opens up his own shop. Zhao manages to run Chang out of business, and out of the neighborhood as well. The story then picks up several generations later, when the Chang descendents are also trying to make a living out of selling their figurines. They also are approached by a greedy merchant, but they manage to break out of their feudal biases by revealing the secrets of making their art -- to anyone who wants to learn. (This odd finale implies that anyone can sculpt, there is no "art" to it, no innate talent, no genius -- one just has to learn the secrets.]
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