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Miao ethnic group devote themselves to traditional embroidery

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2015-09-29

At the annual folk arts expo in the city of Guiyang, Guizhou province, Sept 24 - 29, which brought in craftsmen from Russia, Australia, Iran, and two dozen other countries, one Miao craftswoman who has devoted her life to Miao craft innovations, was especially busy fielding inquiries from customers.

Miao ethnic group devote themselves to traditional embroidery

Long Tonghua answering customers' questions at her booth. [Photo/Zhou Yuangang]

Long Tonghua, who is in her 50s, says that on opening day of this year's expo, her small booth, with its embroidery, silver bracelets and rings and other delicate crafts got a lot of attention and she sold more than 10,000 yuan ($ 1568.21) worth of goods.

Long, who is from Taijiang county and is the member of a folk craft association in Qiangdongnan Miao and Dong prefecture, has been working with Miao embroidery for 40 years, after acquiring the skill from her mother.

Miao embroidery, with its various patterns and colors, is popular in the province and was added to the national cultural heritage list in 2006, so Long took her work to the expo in hopes of promoting her cultural inheritance and to understand market trends and notes, "With the promotion of various craft competitions, Miao embroidery is increasing in popularity nationwide and even worldwide."

Miao ethnic group devote themselves to traditional embroidery
Long's display of silver ornaments at the expo [Photo/ Zhou Yuangang]

Long even won an award in 2009 at a Miao embroidery expo and was successful enough to found a Miao crafts factory in 2012 for traditional clothing designs, which now brings her more than 1 million yuan ($156,000) annually and provides a lot of jobs. When her son, Wu Linpeng, graduated from college in 2012, he decided to help manage the business.

Long says, "There are at least seven distinct ways that Miao embroidery can be used on clothing," so she passed on her skills to 50 apprentices from the village, then adds, "We need to exchange and learn from one another since the crafts are carry different cultural meanings."

Her son, however, worries about his inheritance because, "A great deal of young people are reluctant to study this art because of the small income at the beginning."

Nonetheless, Long still has great expectation for her business and expanding into the international market, and concluded, "The more the outside world knows about us, the better our chance to do business."

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