Inheritor of Suzhou Embroidery

June 20, 2019
Editor: Ling Xiao
(MASTEROFCRAFTS)CHINA-JIANGSU-SUZHOU EMBROIDERY-INHERITOR (CN)
Yao Huifen (R) watches her daughter making embroidery at her workshop in Zhenhu Town of Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, June 11, 2019.  [Xinhua/Yang Lei]

 

Suzhou Embroidery, one of the four most famous embroideries in China, is originated in Suzhou and has a history of more than 2,000 years. Known for its elegant pattern, artistic design, fine handwork and varied stitches, it was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage of China in 2006.

Yao Huifen, representative inheritor of the craft, was born in Suzhou in 1967 in a family of embroidery. Influenced by her grandparents and parents since young, she fell in love with the handicraft and could make great work when she was a teenager. After becoming the apprentice of masters Mu Zhihong and Ren Huixian, Yao's skill made great progress. She opened her own workshop of Suzhou Embroidery with her sister Yao Huiqin in 1998, starting her career as a craftswoman.

Over the years since 1991, Yao's artworks have earned numerous prizes, including the "Shanhua Prize," the highest prize for China's folk art. In the recent ten years, Yao Huifen created a new method of embroidery called "Simple Stitch," and incorporated Chinese traditional paintings and portraits into her works, many of which were collected by museums and art galleries including the British Museum.Yao has also gone to many countries to introduce Suzhou Embroidery as its promotion ambassador, including the United States, France, Italy, Britain, Russia, Sweden and Finland.

Despite her achievements, Yao sticks to her embroidery career as a craftswoman and has created lots of artworks with distinctive styles. In 2017, 34 Suzhou Embroidery works of Yao Huifen were chosen to be displayed at the Venice Biennale China Pavilion and won extensive attention. One artwork "Skeleton Fantasy" uses about 50 kinds of stitches of Suzhou Embroidery, making a breakthrough on the traditional embroidery methods. Zhenhu Town of Suzhou City has more than 8,000 craftsmen of Suzhou Embroidery and hundreds of shops and has developed an industry of Suzhou Embroidery in recent years with the help of local government.

In order to inherit the craft, Yao has accepted numerous apprentices both from home and abroad since the 1990s, worrying that there are less young people willing to learn the art nowadays. "I want to plant a seed of Suzhou Embroidery in their mind, even if they only want to learn it as a hobby, " Yao said, "and I hope more youngsters will join us and pass on the traditional craft through generations."

(MASTEROFCRAFTS)CHINA-JIANGSU-SUZHOU EMBROIDERY-INHERITOR (CN)
Photo taken on May 29, 2019 shows a Suzhou Embroidery work by Yao Huifen. [Xinhua/Li Xiang]

 

(MASTEROFCRAFTS)CHINA-JIANGSU-SUZHOU EMBROIDERY-INHERITOR (CN)
File photo taken in 2016 shows the Suzhou Embroidery work "self portrait of Leonardo da Vinci" by Yao Huifen. [Xinhua]

 

(MASTEROFCRAFTS)CHINA-JIANGSU-SUZHOU EMBROIDERY-INHERITOR (CN)
Photo taken on May 29, 2019 shows a Suzhou Embroidery work by Yao Huifen. [Xinhua/Li Xiang]

 

(MASTEROFCRAFTS)CHINA-JIANGSU-SUZHOU EMBROIDERY-INHERITOR (CN)
Photo taken on June 11, 2019 shows part of the Suzhou Embroidery work "Skeleton Fantasy" by Yao Huifen. [Xinhua/Li Xiang]

 

(MASTEROFCRAFTS)CHINA-JIANGSU-SUZHOU EMBROIDERY-INHERITOR (CN)
Photo taken on May 29, 2019 shows a Suzhou Embroidery work by Yao Huifen. [Xinhua/Li Xiang]

 

(MASTEROFCRAFTS)CHINA-JIANGSU-SUZHOU EMBROIDERY-INHERITOR (CN)
Yao Huifen makes an embroidery at her workshop in Zhenhu Town of Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, June 11, 2019. [Xinhua/Yang Lei]

 

(MASTEROFCRAFTS)CHINA-JIANGSU-SUZHOU EMBROIDERY-INHERITOR (CN)
Yao Huifen watches her artworks at her workshop in Zhenhu Town of Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, June 11, 2019. [Xinhua/Yang Lei]

 

(MASTEROFCRAFTS)CHINA-JIANGSU-SUZHOU EMBROIDERY-INHERITOR (CN)
Yao Huifen makes embroidery at her workshop in Zhenhu Town of Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, June 11, 2019. [Xinhua/Yang Lei]

 

(MASTEROFCRAFTS)CHINA-JIANGSU-SUZHOU EMBROIDERY-INHERITOR (CN)
Yao Huifen guides her apprentice at her workshop in Zhenhu Town of Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, June 11, 2019. [Xinhua/Yang Lei]

 

(Source: Xinhua)

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