Former banker returns home to promote Miao embroidery

Editor:Sharon Lee
Source:嶄忽晩烏
Updated:2017-11-29 10:36:28

  Chen Guotao smiles during an interview. [Photo by Huang Dequan/China Daily]

  Chen Guotao, born in a Miao ethnic family in the mountains of Yaoyang, Southwest China's Chongqing, successfully made her way to the big cities. But the love for the Miao embroidery made her quit the highly paid job at a State-owned bank and returned home to promote the folk art.

  "I love Miao embroidery and it is our Miao people's cultural symbol," she said. "Every Miao woman is good at this skill."

  Chen learned embroidery from her mother at the age of four and when she was eight years old, she could make a skirt by herself.

  The Miao people live mainly in southern China's mountains, such as in Chongqing and the provinces of Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Hubei and Hunan. Miao embroidery is a very essential part of Miao culture and a treasure of Chinese costume culture. It was named as China's intangible cultural heritage in 2006.

  In 2001, Chen returned to Chongqing and started to learn more about the embroidery skills. She paid visits to the Miao villages in Hunan and Guizhou provinces and learned the skills from the masters. She usually worked from six in the morning until 11 in the night.

  At the same time, she researched the current situation of the Miao embroidery and collected the traditional patterns in order to keep this art form booming.

  In 2012, she finally set up her company to promote and preserve this folk art. Her artworks have been exhibited at home and abroad.

  "Every piece of the Miao embroidery is all handmade with all kinds of complicated skills," she said. "A square cloth of one-meter will take at least one year to complete, so it is time-consuming and very hard to make money."

  To let more Miao women inherit the skills, Chen partnered with local women's association to set up training camps.