How King Lear Was Em­broi­dered?


Special Focus - - Contents - Zhou Xianx­i­an周献献

Pic­ture a por­trait of an old man with bushy white hair and a tidy white beard. His creased face with vivid and nat­u­ral ex­pres­sion. What’s more, a strik­ing Chi­nese char­ac­ter of “王 ” ( the king) is stitched on his fore­head and his glar­ing eyes force view­ers to hold him in awe. We dare not to look at him for long, com­pletely for­get­ting this is just an art of em­broi­dery.

It is King Lear, a bril­liant hand­craft by Yang Xiaot­ing, a mas­ter of Han Em­broi­dery in Hubei Prov­ince.

Both Yang’s ma­ter­nal and pa­ter­nal grand­moth­ers were good at em­broi­der­ing. In­flu­enced by them, Yang was in­ter­ested in em­broi­dery when she was very young. As time went by, her in­ter­est turned to a deep love for em­broi­dery. She has de­voted her­self to Han Em­broi­dery for thirty years.

Yang’s mother, who is a Chris­tian, often brought her to the church in her child­hood. See­ing the fur­nish­ings there, she grad­u­ally fell for West­ern art. Af­ter­wards, she re­ceived a sys­temic ed­u­ca­tion on tra­di­tional Chi­nese paint­ing and oil paint­ing at an art col­lege in Hubei and mas­tered Eastern and West­ern aes­thetic the­o­ries. Along with an open at­ti­tude to­wards pur­su­ing art, Yang has learned a lot from both West­ern and Chi­nese cul­tures. As a cross be­tween Chi­nese and West­ern art, most of her works show ex­tra­or­di­nary beauty.

Yang Xiaot­ing and her tal­ented team cre­ated King Lear in 2014. It took al­most eight months to fin­ish it. The pro­to­type of this em­broi­dery is a staged photo of Wu Xing­guo, the Tai­wanese play­wright of the Pek­ing Opera

Lear Is Here , which was adapted from Shake­speare’s drama King

Lear . Wu in­no­va­tively in­ter­preted this drama in the form of Chi­nese Pek­ing Opera.

At that time, Yang Xiaot­ing was striv­ing to fig­ure out how to com­bine Han Em­broi­dery with fiber art. She came across the stage photo of Wu in a mag­a­zine

and she was in­spired to trans­form it into em­broi­dery.

It took a lot of time and ef­fort to com­plete the pri­mary de­sign of this work, in­clud­ing adop­tion of stitches and ad­just­ments of color and bright­ness, ac­cord­ing to Yang Xiaot­ing. In order to high­light the char­ac­ter­is­tics of King Lear, Yang used free stitch­ing to em­broi­der his face, so that threads can flow along his fa­cial out­line and cre­ate a vis­ual ef­fect of oil paint. Given the cos­tume style of Pek­ing Opera and avoid­ing his face be­ing over­shad­owed by the pat­tern stitched by gold threads on his clothes, Yang em­bed­ded black threads into the gold ones prop­erly to ad­just the bright­ness of dif­fer­ent parts. Tra­di­tional cir­cling gold stitch and mod­ern free stitch, a fig­ure of west­ern drama pre­sented as a Pek­ing Opera char­ac­ter, along with fiber art—ev­ery de­tail of this seem­ingly sim­ple work man­i­fests the cre­ator’s orig­i­nal­ity.

Yang Xiaot­ing has cre­ated a num­ber of em­broi­deries on the ba­sis of paint­ings by Monet and Van Gogh us­ing dif­fer­ent stitches, as well as a series of works based on por­tray­als of West­ern mu­si­cians, which she hopes to show the world when her daugh­ter holds pi­ano con­certs over­seas in the fu­ture.

Yang likes read­ing Shake­speare’s dra­mas and she often reads with her daugh­ter, play­ing dif­fer­ent roles. Yang said the poem NineTunes by Chi­nese poet Qu Yuan is also rich in such splen­did and ro­man­tic scenes, and she wants to bring more Chi­nese cul­tural el­e­ments to her em­broi­deries to share with more peo­ple out­side of China.

Yang Xiaot­ing in­sists on the idea of fu­sion of Chi­nese and West­ern styles dur­ing her cre­ation, which gives Han Em­broi­dery, with a his­tory of over 2300 years, a new life. So far, she has re­ceived vis­i­tors from dozens of coun­tries, and her em­broi­deries have been pre­sented to for­eign celebri­ties many times, in­clud­ing Theresa Mary May and Bill Gates.

Wal­let em­broi­dered by Yang Xiaot­ing pre­sented to Teresa May, British Prime Min­is­ter, as a gift 英国首相特蕾莎·梅对“龙凤呈祥坤包”爱不释手

Yang Xiaot­ing ex­plain­ing Han em­broi­dery to over­seas In­ter­net celebri­ties 杨小婷在给海外大V讲解汉绣作品

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