Old needle­work dis­play in Chengdu

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By HUANG ZHILING in Chengdu

JiangMei is so pre­oc­cu­pied with her needle­work that she ig­nores vis­i­tors ap­proach­ing her to look at her Sichuan-style em­broi­dery work of fish and hibis­cus.

The 30-year-old from Anyue county in South­west China’s Sichuan prov­ince, takes the cu­rios­ity for granted and doesn’t bother to raise her head un­til a vis­i­tor asks her ques­tions.

Next to her at the Chengdu Shu Bro­cade and Em­broi­dery Mu­seum is her teacher Peng Ship­ing, who looks at­ten­tively as his 28-year-old daugh­ter Peng Lin em­broi­ders a fish on silk. The 55-year-old mas­ter of Shu em­broi­dery would stop her if he found her stitches to be im­per­fect. Jiang and the Pengs are pro­fes­sional em­broi­ders who live in the cap­i­tal of Sichuan.

Shu em­broi­dery was in­cluded in the list of in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage in 2006 by the State Coun­cil.

Shu em­broi­dery is one of the four schools of em­broi­dery in China to­gether with Su from Jiangsu prov­ince in the east, Xiang from cen­tral Hu­nan prov­ince and Yue from Guang­dong prov­ince in the south.

Works of Shu em­broi­dery fea­tur­ing the gi­ant panda, crane, golden carp, hibis­cus, pe­ony, lo­tus, bam­boo as well as Chi­nese land­scape paint­ings please the eye in the mu­seum. Some of the works here have been em­broi­dered by Peng Ship­ing who is known for his dou­blesided work — a piece de­picts two an­cient celebri­ties on one side and two pan­das on the other.

Peng Ship­ing learned em­broi­dery tech­niques from his fa­ther Peng Yongx­ing at age 15. The el­der Peng was the first in Shu em­broi­dery to win the ti­tle of China Em­broi­dery Art Mas­ter from the China Na­tional Arts and Crafts So­ci­ety.

Due to the hard work and rel­a­tively low in­comes, not many peo­ple learn to be em­broi­ders.

To Peng Ship­ing’s de­light, his only daugh­ter Peng Lin likes stitch­ing. The English ma­jor from Xi­huaUniver­sity in Chengdu used to work in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try ear­lier.

Be­cause of her in­ter­est in em­broi­dery, she started work­ing in the mu­seum to­gether with her fa­ther.

Vis­i­tors in­ter­ested in view­ing needle­works in progress can go to a quiet cor­ner of the mu­seum where the fa­ther, daugh­ter and other em­broi­ders can be seen work­ing to­gether.

HUANG ZHILING / CHINA DAILY

Jiang Mei shows off her skills in Shu em­broi­dery with a piece fea­tur­ing fish and flow­ers at the Chengdu Shu Bro­cade and Em­broi­dery Mu­seum.

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