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Shu embroidery: needle legends


08:56, June 25, 2013


As the Festival of Intangible Cultural Heritage is underway in the city of Chengdu, we start tonight with a distinguished cultural heritage, Shu embroidery. The exquisite works created by one master embroiderer, Meng Dezhi, are so highly esteemed that one hangs in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

Donning a heavily embroidered Cheongsam, Shu Embriodery master Meng Dezhi receives 32 new apprentices in a ceremony on Thursday. Surprisingly there was a male among them, taking on a profession normally reserved for women.

Gu Yang, Meng Dezhi’s apprentice, said, “I enjoy embroidery very much. No matter what others say about it, I think being persistent in what you like is the most important thing.”

Meng Dezhi said, “This ceremony is very solemn, very formal. It’s a good way to promote Sichuan embroidery to these youngsters.”

Shu embroidery hails from the Han dynasty, some two thousand years ago. It features thick stitches which are often brightly coloured. The neat rows are influenced by the location, customs and cultures of the Shu area, which Sichuan was known as in ancient times.

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