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Glorious Xiamen bead embroidery enjoys revival

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: Aug 12, 2019


Xiamen bead embroidery emphasizes the contrast of light and shade that highlight the pattern design, giving it a three-dimensional effect. [Photo/visitxm.com]

Xiamen bead embroidery, which uses the technique of adding beads to fabric using traditional embroidery stitches, is a famous craftwork in eastern Fujian province. It is prime example of Xiamen's provincial-level intangible cultural heritage.

The bead embroidery emphasizes the contrast of light and shade that highlights the pattern design, to give it a three-dimensional effect. It is well-known for its creativity, uniqueness and dazzle. The beads can be used as embellishments on an array of items, from garments to shoes to decorations.


The peacock is one of the common images to appear on the bead embroidery. [Photo/visitxm.com]

Xiamen bead embroidery goes back more than 100 years. In the 1950s, craftsmen in Xiamen gathered together and set up their own factory to produce bead embroidery. They meet with success and their products eventually could be found in more than 50 countries across the world.

However, the factory gradually reduced its production in the 1990s and finally closed down due to rising labor costs and other reasons.

Xie Liyu, an inheritor of the traditional handicraft, once worked in the factory. She could not bear to see the technique disappear. She gathered colleagues who had worked in the factory and in 2008 opened a studio focusing on the development and inheritance of Xiamen bead embroidery.

Through Xie's efforts, the handicraft that once faced adverse conditions has been protected and passed on, becoming one of the most distinctive name cards of Xiamen. One of her works -- Xiamen Scenery -- is shown in Wellington City Hall in New Zealand.