Stitching together a family legacy

By Deng Zhangyu | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-26 07:25
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A group portrait of Buddhist deities, several meters in length, is based on a mural and made by Zhang Fan's team using more than 20 stitching techniques of Su embroidery. [Photo provided to China Daily]

In a meters-long mural depicting a group of Buddhist deities, Zhang Fan and his mother used more than 20 stitching techniques, as well as countless colors of various shades. It took them six years to finish.

Zhang Fan says that his mother is always on a path seeking innovation and creativity. She was a deputy director of the Suzhou Silk Embroidery Research Institute, where lots of modern Su embroidery masters were trained and worked.

Last century, embroiderers from the institute learned the realism style from the West and blended it into their works, enabling them to produce photo-realistic work.

Zhang Meifang led the team charged with developing new techniques for Su embroidery. After she retired, with the help of her son, she focused her efforts on developing the traditional craft. The final mission is to integrate it with people's prevailing artistic tastes. They have worked with artists across the globe and their pieces are collected by museums and art institutions both at home and abroad.

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