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Ethnic Embroidery of Qiang: A Miracle in Chinese Folk Art


Qiang ethnic minority is one ancient nation in our Chinese ethnic family. For thousands of years, together with the other members of our big folk family, the ethnic minority of Qiang have created the Chinese nation's great splendid civilizations.

From the nomadic times to the farming times, from ancient times until today, The Qiang nation has experienced countless glory and honor, also suffered from hardships and tribulations. They always keep the Chinese nation's fine qualities of hard-working, kind-hearted, simple and unadorned. In the mountains on the northwest Sichuan, between the canyons, they spread over and descended toughly from generation to generation, to retain a special, ancient folk culture gene in China.

Embroidery is a kind of traditional Chinese handicraft that using needles to draw various color threads go between fabrics and created drawings on it. The various embroidery patches and embroidered image patterns on Qiang nation people's apparels are all belong to the traditional Qiang's ethnic folk arts and crafts, which has a long history.

As to the production means, Qiang's ethnic embroidery were produced by various individual families, also is through this method to achieve following and continuation traditionally. It is a unique art created own by Qiang nation's people, which is imbued with their wisdoms and originalities.

Qiang's ethnic embroidery works full of free imaginations and followed regular norms at same time, it is a sort of art creation that featured with merits of spontaneity, amateurism and self-entertainment. In the long history of development, Qiang's ethnic embroidery formed its unique aesthetic styles, color specifications and functional forms naturally, also folk and self-embodied with national folk art rules which has aesthetic values.

As to the function, Qiang's ethnic embroidery mainly used for decorating people's coats and skirts, shoes, head towels, belts, ribbons, bands, straps, cuffs, pants, trousers bodies, shoe-uppers, insoles, pillowcases, handkerchiefs, clothing edges, sleeves and sachets, from these art patterns we can view the history line of Qiang's ethnic costume culture.

As long as to do a bit statistics, we can learn that there are over 100 kinds of embroidery patterns merely in Qiang's ethnic apparels, that is really colorful! Containing Qiang nation people's fine aspirations for a better life, these exquisite embroidery works created by fine techniques are simple, rigorous, arranged ingenious and reasonable, also using moderate colors, thus to integrate the aesthetic forms and functional forms naturally: Not only for wearing beautiful, but also wearable, and the use lift extended consequently.

As per to Qiang's ethnic embroidery, the aesthetic and practical functions of which could not be separated sharply. The reason is referring the practical function, to increase its wearable quality only is a primary step; in a deeper sense, those gorgeous and colorful image patterns on Qiang's ethnic embroidery actually congealed Qiang nation people's praying and blessing for life, which reflected their dreams of beyond reality.

As the image patterns they selected: fishes, flowers and birds, worms, fowls and beasts, figures, fruits and melons, flowers, 'Fortunes smile upon and Favor you', Treasures Fill the Home, Hundreds of birds visit Phoenix, all these designs are profound and lifelike. Although done with some geometric or other forms of transforming treatment, but are closely related to their reality all along, and the starting point of their ideas for a better life is just existed in such a reality of survival.

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