【钱小萍:复活宋锦的丝绸传承人】

Qian Xiaoping: An inheritor of the Song brocade craft

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Choose a profession and commit yourself to it for a lifetime—this is the belief of Qian Xiaoping, a top artist who revived China’s Song brocade-making techniques.

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Named after the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the period during which it was invented, the Song brocade is China’s most luxurious and complicated form of brocade silk. The fabric is characterized by its vivid hues, exquisite patterns, and luscious, soft texture.

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Eighty-one-year old Qian Xiaoping began to work in the silk-weaving industry in 1957, a time when the newly founded People’s Republic of China was eager to revive the flagging silk industry. Having dedicated almost her entire career to the preservation and restoration of this ancient art form, she is best known for reproducing in 2014 The Land of Bliss, a Buddhist painting weaved using Song brocade techniques more than 300 years ago.

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In 2006, the Song brocade was listed as one of China’s first national intangible cultural heritages, and Qian was named as the inheritor of this craft.

In addition to her artistry, Qian also contributed to the medical field. In the 1960s and 1970s, she participated in the invention of China’s first and second generations of artificial blood vessels in partnership with a hospital in Shanghai. Because of her unique perspective and skills in fabric structure design, she suggested the research and development team use a “weaving” method instead of “knitting” method to make cardiovascular prostheses.

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A perfect embodiment of both inheritance and innovation, the Song brocade maestro shows the world not only the ingenuity of traditional Chinese artisans, but also their spirit to boldly search and break new ground.

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