Woman devotes life to preserving embroidery tradition

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-08-06 09:32
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Wang Suhua works on a piece of embroidery at Suhua Song Embroidery in Kaifeng, Central China's Henan province, on July 30. [Photo/Xinhua]

The 85-year-old Wang Suhua is a inheritor of Bian-style embroidery, a national level intangible cultural heritage. Bian-style embroidery, an art form originating in Central China's Henan province that focuses on recreating historical paintings, has been known far and wide across China since the Song Dynasty (960-1279). To carry the art form forward, Wang has scavenged for antique embroidery pieces for research and innovated more than 10 new forms of needlework. In 1959, Wang completed her rendition of Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival (a renowned Song Dynasty scroll painting by artist Zhang Zeduan), which was a milestone event during the history of Bian-style embroidery. 

Out of her sole wish to preserve Bian-style embroidery, Wang established Kaifeng Suhua Song Embroidery in 1990 after her retirement to teach the art form. For 30 years, she has trained more than 1,000 young girls, orphans with disabilities and unemployed female workers, all free of charge. "I will teach them each day while I'm still alive. Bian-style embroidery must be passed on," Wang said.

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