Tutorials on Shui horsetail embroidery have been broadcast online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 © Song Shuixian

Shui ethnic horsetail embroidery from Guizhou Province, China

Song Shuixian, Nationally recognized bearer of the element horsetail embroidery from Shui Ethnic

1. Before and after the Spring Festival, all girls involved in embroidery followed the instructions of confinement and the embroidery workshop was closed.

2. The epidemic brings not only physical worries, but also emotional worries and shocks. Intangible cultural heritage can be used as an important tool to comfort the tension.

Introducing the element: Chinese embroidery originated thousands of years ago. It is a portrayal of people’s lives and a pursuit of beauty. Guizhou, China, which use to be a province that is quite poor and underdevelopment has greatly improved with eco-development. when you go to Guizhou and understand the culture of Guizhou, you will be attracted by the Shui ethnic horsetail embroidery. Shui horsetail embroidery is inherited by Shui women from generation to generation; an embroidery symbolize this ethnic minority.

Its unique feature is that the horsetail is wrapped with silk thread for embroidery. Its unique embroidery art is known as the “living fossil in embroidery”. Moreover, the Shui people have long worshipped horses. Horses in Shui represent freedom, energy and strength.
Embroidery using horsetail as the main raw material also seems to represent the beautiful hope of the Shui people. The most common patterns in horsetail embroidery patterns are fish, butterflies, pomegranates, Ruyi, gourds, bats, dragons and phoenixes. Shui horsetail embroidery was inscribed among the first batch to the national list of intangible cultural heritage in China in 2006.

My experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic

Embroidery became the most relaxing and happy thing for everyone during the epidemic  ! There is something to do, and this thing is full of good expectations for life and blessings for family in one stitch and one thread  !

3. The rise of commercial live streaming , provided a new way to experience and do online shopping, and provided the platform to let everyone see the customs of various places in China without going outside. Live broadcast is to make people live a better life, and ICH is to make people feel the power of culture.

Transmission requires perseverance from generation to generation  ! This epidemic also seems to tell us to live slower, don’t be greedy for utilitarianism, don’t take too much material and enjoyment, and slow down to feel the harmony with nature. So during the epidemic, with the help of the children, I tried to do live broadcasting with them, hoping to embrace it in this e-learning and e-commercial era.

With such a good platform, more people can know the horsetail embroidery and other aspects Chinese culture. I also discussed with the children how society could help the embroidered ladies work in the new year, provide better recognition and make them live a better life.

4. With my family, we used local specialty herbs from Guizhou and traditional Chinese herbal medicine to make perfume bags. People could wear it on the clothes, which helps with the immune system. The appearance is even more traditional Chinese patterns such as butterflies, lotus flowers, phoenixes, etc. to wish everyone peace and happiness.

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