Traditional culture given a modern twist

New enthusiasm revitalizes time-honored brands

By YANG FEIYUE | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-05 08:00
Share - WeChat
Tujia brocade woven by Liu Dai'e. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

In the Tujia language, the local brocade is known as xilankapu, which translates as "flower-patterned cover". Made by skilled weavers and involving more than 10 processes, including spinning, threading, knotting and rolling, Tujia brocade features over 200 classic designs.

Liu, who is in her 60s, said: "Only one side of these traditional products is woven with patterns, while the other side is left rough. It took me six to seven years to master the technique of presenting distinctive Tujia elements on both sides to my complete satisfaction."

Named a national inheritor of the craft in 2007, Liu said, "Handwork is involved throughout the process, and to produce designs that are more delicate than others, I use one shuttle line, instead of two."

This is just one example of the innovative techniques Liu has used throughout her more than five decades of working with this traditional craft, which she started to practice with her grandmother.

In 1986, Liu launched a Tujia brocade business with her sisters.

"At that time, many people were struggling to make a living, and I wanted to use my skills to help them improve their lives," Liu said.

She added that she also wanted to promote the brocade, which has helped preserve traditional culture, especially as the Tujia ethnic group does not have its own form of writing.

After launching the business, Liu became acutely aware of the popularity of products featuring traditional designs made from materials such as silk and wool.

She made a point of collecting ancient designs by trekking deep into the mountains that are home to Tujia villagers. "I tried to restore the old and discarded brocade items I bought," Liu said.

As traditional thick Tujia brocade is often used as bedding by members of this group, Liu opts for silk, to achieve a lighter touch. She also uses the brocade to make handbags, and for paintings, which have proved popular with travelers.

With the continuous development of the local culture and tourism industry, Miao'ertan is welcoming more visitors. After talking to a number of people, Liu sensed the way in which the local brocade industry needed to develop, and took it to a high-end customized market.

|<< Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Next   >>|
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349