she insists on using her self-cultivated cotton to make brocades. She believes that will help her maintain the crafts' original charm. She also collects plants, which are used to dye her brocades, on the mountain near her village.
Many visitors were attracted by Rong's artwork during the first Lis' brocade craft competition. The event was held in Hainan Province in 2006. Rong received an award during the competition.
Rong is sad that due to some historical reasons, the craft form has been in decline in recent years. Now, there are less than 1,000 Li women (most of whom are in their 70s), who understand how to make brocades. Among the women, less than 200 master the skills of weaving and dyeing the items.
"I'll try my best to help girls and young women in our village improve their craft-making skills ... As we Lis do not have a written language, I hope the young people will get a glimpse into our historical and cultural development through the swatches. I also hope the craft will be passed down from generation to generation," says Rong. She will continue to work hard to live up to her mother's expectations, and try her best to promote the traditional craft, so more people will understand the beauty of the art form.
Rong Yamei was born in 1955 in Yongyi, a village in Qianjia, a town in Ledong Li Autonomous County, in Hainan Province. She is a State-level inheritor of the Lis' brocade-making craft.