HELP­ING A COL­OR­FUL TRA­DI­TION PROS­PER

China Daily European Weekly - - Big Picture - LI JING

Af­ter 10 years of liv­ing and work­ing far from home, Wu Zheng­ping, who is of Miao eth­nic­ity, re­turned and is com­mit­ted to the crafts­man­ship for which her an­ces­tors are fa­mous. Chi­nese em­broi­dery dates back sev­eral thou­sand years. Em­broi­dery skills are com­monly used in the lives of Miao peo­ple. Miaoxiu, or em­broi­dery of the Miao, which fea­tures rich and splen­did col­ors and ex­ag­ger­ated shapes and lines, was among the first tra­di­tions listed as a na­tional in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage.

The tra­di­tion is well pre­served in Huayuan county in Hu­nan prov­ince, where Wu was born and grew up. In re­cent years the county has in­vested heav­ily in de­vel­op­ing new crafts and prod­ucts of Miao em­broi­dery and bro­cade, and train­ing and pass­ing on the tech­nique.

When Wu re­turned home in 2017, she de­cided to join a free em­broi­dery train­ing pro­gram led by skilled lo­cal Miao ar­ti­sans. Now she is a qual­i­fied craftswoman and, more im­por­tant, is able to be with her fam­ily ev­ery day.

There are more vil­lagers like Wu re­turn­ing home due to the em­broi­dery train­ing pro­gram, which now reaches more than 20 bases in four coun­ties in the Xiangxi Tu­jia and Miao au­ton­o­mous pre­fec­ture in Hu­nan. The pro­gram, called Get Moth­ers Home, has trained more than 6,000 fe­male work­ers, cre­ated nearly 3,000 jobs and in­creased lo­cals’ av­er­age an­nual in­come by 5,000 yuan. The em­broi­dery pro­gram not only helps the tra­di­tion pros­per, but also helps the county to al­le­vi­ate poverty.

PHO­TOS BY LI GA / XINHUA

Wu Zheng­ping works on a piece of em­broi­dery. Wu and her sons visit a lo­cal scenic spot in Huayuan county in Hu­nan prov­ince. Wu ac­com­pa­nies her sons Shi Wen­hao (left) and Shi Wenze as they do their home­work in a court­yard at home. Wu’s fa­ther-in-law (cen­ter) teaches bam­boo weav­ing to the younger gen­er­a­tions. A skilled Miao ar­ti­san shows em­broi­dery to Wu and her sons at a base of the crafts­man­ship train­ing pro­gram.

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