Ren Benrong works on embroidery designs in his studio. One of his works, Yellow Crane Tower, or Huanghelou (above) features a historic landmark in his hometown of Wuhan. Photos Provided to China Daily
When Red Guards broke into his home during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), they destroyed more than 200 pieces of embroidery that Ren Benrong had in his collection. He stood aside and watched. As Ren, now 78, witnessed them burn the centuries-old elegant handcrafted work that he had inherited from his father and grandfather, he could not hold back his tears of anguish, but he also felt relieved of a heavy burden. "Most the embroideries were from theatrical costumes of plays about emperors and imperial families, all in the deeply-hated category of 'feudalism's evil legacy' then," Ren explains.
Washington was cautious in its responses at a US-Japan summit as leaders discussed China-related issues, including the Diaoyu Islands dispute, during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's meeting with US President Barack Obama.
The art of embroidery was an important part of a woman's education in China, at least until a few generations ago. Embroidered items also had a crucial role in rites and rituals, with carefully designed patterns that indicated rank and importance in the imperial courts, and differing degrees of respect for deities in religious ceremonies. In the courts, the embroidered panel in front of an official's robe would immediately identify his rank. Elaborate altar cloths in shrines and temples were a reflection of the congregation's devotion, and wealth. A daughter would be trained to sew, and embroider, as soon as she was old enough to hold a needle. Her embroidery would start with handkerchiefs, towels and pillowcases and expand to sheets, tablecloths, underwear and outer jackets that would slowly accumulate into an impressive dowry. Embroidery was also appreciated as an art, and various regions in China soon developed their unique styles, often as far back as earliest dynasties. Apart from Han embroidery, there were four other major styles from Suzhou, Guangdong, Sichuan and Hunan.
China's most flamboyant designer, Guo Pei, whose outrageously extravagant gowns are much sought after by movie stars and socialites, aims to make an international impact in the near future. Beijing-based Guo is famous in her native country for producing her signature gowns, one-offs that can cost up to $50,000 a pop. Among her clients have been A-list stars such as Li Bingbing and Zhang Ziyi.
In Australia, every major city, beachside hamlet and country town will almost certainly have three things - a pub, a bakery and a Chinese restaurant. You would be hard pressed to find an Aussie who hadn't enjoyed a plate of jiaozi or a dim sum lunch, but how many Chinese can say they have eaten the great Australian dish, the meat pie?
Fireworks will fill the skies in China as the nation celebrates the Lantern Festival today, the 15th day of the first lunar month. But in one village in China, locals use molten iron to create their fiery show.
Back on the court after days of mourning, the Los Angeles Lakers grinded out a gritty win thanks to a vintage performance from their biggest star.
New research has begun to clarify what can and cannot be said about the effects of violent gaming on young people.
HAVANA - Eduardo Valdes peered out over Playa, past the embassies of Miramar, to the glimmering royal blue of the distant Straits of Florida, searching for a hint of white rolling eastward.
Science and Technology
For decades, scientists have been on the lookout for killer objects from outer space that could devastate the planet. But warnings that they lacked the tools to detect the most serious threats were largely ignored.
Arts and Styles
BARCELONA, Spain - There is no sign marking the door to La Poderosa, a dance and performance space on a scruffy street in the Raval neighborhood here.
China's growing luxury market and increased exposure to international fashion brands over the last decade have led to steep jumps in enrollment of Chinese students in US fashion schools, with many of those graduates expected to eventually return to China to grow an industry that still depends heavily on Western talent.
The Restaurant Week concept is a simple one. Twice a year, participating restaurants offer a prix fixe menu for lunch and/or dinner to a limited number of guests each day for a week. In a city filled with dining options, where foodies can pick and choose from a vast array of cuisines, price points, and locations. Restaurant Week is a chance to sample some signature dishes at multiple eateries. The meals are considered to be value for money. In Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou the event is organized by DiningCity.
Embroidery is such an important legacy for Suzhou that the city built a museum for the handicraft. Masterpieces by the greatest artists of Suxiu (Suzhou-style embroidery) are among the collection at the Suzhou Museum.
The famous poet Du Fu has long been called China's Shakespeare, but if literary history has respect for its elders then the Chinese wordsmith has 800 years on the Bard of Avon. The renowned Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) writer was not originally from Sichuan province, but it was while living a simple life in a thatched house in Chengdu where the poet - revered, learned and recited by all Chinese school children - penned more than 200 pieces of work. Today, the Du Fu Thatched Cottage Museum is just one reason to visit the capital of Sichuan province, which boasts a warm climate year round, but for those with a taste for spice, a mind for history and modern style, the city offers a feast of discovery.