Cross-stitch embroidery well inherited, brings wealth to local people in Chenggu, NW China's Shaanxi

(People's Daily Online) 13:31, July 13, 2023

A cross-stitch embroidery work. (Photo/Feng Shijie)

Cross-stitch embroidery is a folk embroidery art with a history of more than 2,000 years in Chenggu county, Hanzhong city, northwest China's Shaanxi Province. The traditional art has since developed its own characteristics through integration.

A cross-stitch embroidery artist teaches techniques to a child. (Photo courtesy of Ding Ru)

Cross-stitch embroidery works are made on homespun white cloth, featuring patterns such as flowers, butterflies and fruits. The works not only reflect the folk customs in Chenggu, but also epitomize the farming culture in the southern part of Shaanxi Province, said Zhang Qinghua, head of the intangible cultural heritage section of the culture center of Chenggu county.

Over the course of 30 years, Zhai Peide, a retired official of the culture center of Chenggu, arranged and learned a variety of stitching techniques, collected more than 700 cross-stitch embroidery works and trained over 30 embroiderers, reviving the craft which was once on the verge of extinction.

In 1988, cross-stitch embroidery works were presented by the local government of Chenggu county as gifts to foreign friends. In 2009, Chenggu cross-stitch embroidery was put on the list of intangible cultural heritage in Shaanxi.

Finished cross-stitch embroidery works. (Photo/Feng Shijie)

Ding Ru, a cross-stitch embroiderer, started to learn the techniques from her elderly family members since she was a child. In 2018, Ding and Su Huanmei, an apprentice of Zhai, jointly launched a training program. In that year, 10 training sessions were organized for left-behind rural women. The training sessions have since been held every year.

"At first, we simply wanted to teach the skills to the women so that they could support their families through embroidery. But we found that no one came to buy their works and they didn't have any sales channels," said Ding. To help the women expand their sales channels, she took them to seminars and exhibitions and helped them develop tourism products inspired by cross-stitch embroidery.

Women make cross-stitch embroidery works. (Photo courtesy of Ding Ru)

"Last year, the total value of orders for cross-stitch embroidery works made in Chenggu surpassed 700,000 yuan ($97,200). In the first half of this year, sales of the products approached 500,000 yuan," said Ding. Cross-stitch embroidery works made in Chenggu are also sold to the U.K. and Singapore.

Cultural and creative cross-stitch embroidery works. (Photo courtesy of Ding Ru)

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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