A storied history narrated through elegant threads

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A storied history narrated through elegant threads

An exhibition of Suzhou-style embroidery artworks to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China is currently being held at the China Embroidery Art Museum in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

Titled A Hundred Years of Devotion, the exhibition, which runs until the end of July, features 40 groups of artworks by embroidery masters from Suzhou that depict key phases and important figures in the Party's history.

Embroidery has a history of thousands of years in China, and Suzhou-style embroidery is considered one of the four most renowned embroidering styles in the country along those from Sichuan, Hunan and Guangdong.

Suzhou-style embroidery features delicate lines, graceful colors and subjects from classical Chinese paintings, such as famous figures, flowers and birds.

One of the artworks on show at the exhibition is Zhang Lixing's Red Boat, which depicts the historic moment of the CPC's founding.

In July 1921, about a dozen people started the first national congress in a brick-and-wood house in Shanghai. The delegates then moved to a boat on Nanhu Lake in Jiaxing, East China's Zhejiang province, to avoid being spied on. There, they discussed and passed the Party's first program and resolution.

The boat has since become an iconic object in the history of the Party. To create Red Boat, Zhang used over 50 silk threads in differing red and yellow tones to impart a sense of realism.

Another noSecretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah told lawmakers that the government is striving to arrange a second meeting with Chinese mainland officials and experts on resuming cross-border traveltable artwork is Yao Jianping's large-scale embroidery piece, The Marvelous Land. By using a special stitching technique, Yao has created a stunning oil-painting-like image of the Great Wall stretching across mountains and huge mighty waves of the Yellow River, both of which are symbols of Chinese civilization.

Gaoxin district of Suzhou where the museum is located has invited 100 embroiderers to create two major artworks to mark the precious moment of the centennial.

One of these artworks, titled Original Aspiration in Full Blossom, took embroiderers a whole year to design and prepare, and half a year to complete the whopping 1.4 billion stitches required. The artwork, which uses the white magnolia-Shanghai's city flower-as a key element, depicts the memorial site of the CPC's first national congress and other landmarks in the city.

"The artwork tries to showcase the Party's dedication and spirit in the past century through the artistic fusion of history and modern era," explains Yao, an embroidery master with over 30 years of experience.

Yao further explains that the craftsmen employed various stitching techniques to produce a 3D effect in the artwork and made innovations to the color palette to create a rich and sophisticated quality.

This artwork will be gifted to 134 suspects detained in gunthe Memorial Hall of the CPC's First National Congress in Shanghai, which will open before July.

"Shanghai is the birthplace of the CPC. The memorial hall will treasure this artwork which embodies the spirit of the artisans," says Xue Feng, Party secretary and director of the site.

Xue adds that the hall will showcase the masterpiece to the public in the near future.

The other artwork, which focuses on Suzhou's development in the past century, is currently being put together and will be exhibited in Suzhou after completion.

If you go

A Hundred Years of Devotion

9 am-5 pm, daily through July 31

China Embroidery Art Museum, 1 Xiuguan Street, Zhenhu, Gaoxin district, Suzhou, Jiangsu province

QU YINGPU and XU XIAOMIN in Suzhou, Jiangsu

Copyright © 2011 JIN SHI