Most people have heard Miao Embroidery and Su Embroidery, but do you know about Chun’an Badu Linen Embroidery?
Badu (八都), originally referring to Wangfu and Yanjia towns in Chun'an County, was officially named "Baduyuan (八都源)". It borders Shexian County (歙县), Anhui Province and Changhua Town (昌化镇), Lin'an, with high mountains and beautiful scenery, as well as typical Huizhou-style residential houses and ancient folk customs.
In ancient times, traffic in the mountainous areas was blocked, and communication with the outside world was almost cut off. In order to survive, the villagers living here planted flax plants, twisted threads and woven linen to solve the clothing problem. For the sake of beauty and to increase thickness, women embroidered various patterns on linen apron, rice bags and straps.
They used the "+" stitch method to cleverly combine nature's flowers, plants, birds and beasts with white or cyan cotton threads to embroider beautiful and pleasing patterns on linen. Badu Linen Embroidery is not just about the technique of embroidery. In fact, it also includes many kinds of agricultural work and folk techniques such as growing flax plants, spinning, weaving, and blue dyeing. It is a gathering of working people’s life wisdom.
The linen used for Badu Linen Embroidery has two colors. One is plain white linen embroidered with blue threads; the other is blue linen dyed with indigo embroidered with white threads. Locally, white linen is mostly used by men, and women prefer blue. Embroidered products are generally composed of four identical patterns in the center with the content being mainly "Blessing, Fortune, Longevity and Happiness", which is then surrounded by a frame. Outside the frame, there are embroidered patterns such as peach, pomegranate, bamboo, magpie, lion, auspicious lantern, etc.
These lively patterns are put together and each has a nice name: Good Fortune in All Four Seasons, Bamboo for Safety and Peace, Peony and Wealth, Lion Rolling a Ball, Butterfly Playing with the Melon ... The peach means longevity; the pomegranate stands for many children; the bamboo is the derivative of “Bamboo for Safety and Peace”; and the lion is a symbol of bravery. Every pattern is people's infinite yearning and longing for a better life.
Nowadays, although Badu Linen Embroidery has fewer opportunities to play in daily use, the craftsmanship that has been handed down for thousands of years is still the hometown culture cherished by Chun'an people.
Guan Jianli, the inheritor of the county-level intangible culture Badu Linen Embroidery, believes that it’s up to Chun’an people themselves to promote hometown’s techniques and culture. She gathered all the masters in the village and made a batch of small handbags from Badu embroidered linen. After getting a stall near a university, all handbags, over a hundred, were sold out to the girls in the university. Although at the price of several ten CNY, she didn’t even earn back the cost, Guan Jianli was relieved. "Not bad! It's not outdated. The younger generation also likes traditional linen embroidery."
Where to go:
Wangfu Town, Chun'an County 淳安县王阜乡