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Eternal blossoms made with silk and wire

Upsurge of interest in art of velvet flowers leads to a renaissance in ancient Jiangsu tradition, Lin Qi reports.

By Lin Qi | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-19 06:02

Zhao Shuxian turns trimmed velvet sticks into flowers. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The market for velvet flowers prospered in Nanjing and later extended to the rest of Jiangsu province, thanks to a plentiful supply of quality silk and booming textile and handicraft industries involved in the making of sophisticated products like yunjin silk brocade.

Velvet flowers are called ronghua in Mandarin, a homophone for the characters meaning "prosperity" and "auspiciousness". Wearing them as a blessing and to ward off evil spirits became customary at wedding ceremonies, Lunar New Year, the Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival.

Today, Zhao's customers, who come from all over the world, wear his flowers in their hair, and on the hats, bags and dresses, both as an everyday item and on special occasions.

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