Sichuan Brocade: High-end custom-made gift from the oriental "Brocade City"

Sichuan Brocade, from China’s western metropolis of Chengdu, is one of the representatives of Chinese silk. In recent years, during the International Milan Fashion Week or fashion weeks in Paris, London and New York , you have seen fashion shows with a variety of Chinese silk fabric designed by both Chinese and foreign designers, and they even caused a Chinese style sensation.

In the Milan World Expo’s China Pavilion, the visitors can feel the charm of brocade. The tough, colorful fabric is made with multi-colored silk. Lifelike crane, flowers, fish and animals are woven by hands instead of being printed on silk fabrics. According to historical records, this manual process is a heritage with 2,000 years’ history.

Detail of the Qing Dynasty Sichuan brocade
 Chinese culture

Dating back about 1,800 years ago and during the Three Kingdoms period, Sichuan Brocade was quite popular as Chengdu was the starting point of the “Silk Road”. Sichuan Brocade was highly developed as an important national industry, and was an important diplomatic gift. To promote brocade industry, Chengdu established a specialized palace for craftsman and workshops for better management. Chengdu therefore is also known as “the city of brocade”, and the river running through the city and is also known as “the river of brocade.”

 Chinese culture

Just as the world-famous Italian clothing and shoes handmade craftsmanship, Sichuan Brocade also has a tedious making process. According to brocade craftsman, one centimeter Sichuan Brocade takes picks of 120 times. Even the most skilled weavers could only make less than 10 centimeters tapestry one day.

Weaver picks and sorts out the silk on the traditional loom
 Chinese culture

Difficult production and superb artistry endow hand-woven brocade with a high collection value and make it a luxury for ancient Chinese nobility. Italy was the end of the ancient “Silk Road” and Chengdu was the supply of goods. You can imagine that 1000 years ago, Sichuan Brocade with high-end custom-made design might also be popular among the Roman nobility.

In the near future, as the culture exchange between China and Europe become increasingly frequent, the “Chinese Fashion” with Sichuan Brocade will be used more in hand-made dress production and appear on the Milan Fashion Week and other international stages. The magical fabric from the East will shine brightly.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
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Dudou, the artistic underwear of ancient China

“Dudou”, or bellyband, is a piece of cloth that covers one’s belly. It dates back thousands of years. It was used by Chinese women as an undergarment in ancient times and can be considered China’s most original underwear.

“Red Underwear”, a painting by Liushi Zong
 Chinese clothing

Origin

Dudou was invented by the Chinese somewhen in the 17th century with the sole practical purpose to keep the chest and stomach area warm. It is just a square or rhomboidal piece of cloth with attached straps that were tied around the neck and at the back. It was worn by children, women and men alike to prevent not only cold but, according to some sources, diarrhea as well.

Dudou, early 20th century. The National Museum of Taiwan History
 Chinese clothing

Patterns

“White Rabbit and Fuwa”. This embroidery theme is a symbol of life and fertility
 Chinese clothing

This simple garment worn underneath, however, artistically decorated with embroidery. The embroidery served not just as mere decoration, each figure or pattern had a special meaning. The patterns’ subjects depended on who the dudou was intended for. Those for lovers obviously had love as their theme: romantic stories taken from operas, myths and folklore; those for young women and brides could contain figures of dragon, phoenix and fish as symbols of good luck, happiness and fertility; the patterns used for the bellybands of babies and children often had tiger as their main character who was believed to give protection against evil; dudous for older people could be embroidered with images of tortoise, a symbol of longevity.

Materials

Dudou, late Qing dynasty, satin, silver chain. Embroidery depicts “both husband and wife around the house” story. China National Silk Museum
 Chinese clothing

Traditional dudous were mostly made of silk satin. The straps could be of the same fabric or cotton but those from rich families used gold or silver chains instead.

 Chinese clothing

In recent years the dudou has made a come back, as a fashion item as well as an underwear. Nowadays there are different designs of dudou on the Chinese market that can be worn in the streets as a backless top combined with skirts or jeans or at home as a sexy lingerie.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

What is the Asian Style of Decorating?

Asian decorating usually refers to either Chinese or Japanese styles. These two Asian styles differ greatly. Japanese decor is traditionally very soothing and minimalist, while Chinese decor can be very dramatic and detailed.

Japanese décor
 Asian style home decor

The Chinese type of Asian decorating is known for its bright colors, especially red. Red is considered a lucky color and you can even paint wood red to get the Chinese look in your home. Other possible color choices for a Chinese type of Asian decorating scheme may be Chinese blue or yellow.

Chinese décor
 Asian style home decor

Dark woods are often featured in Chinese decor and they make a great contrast to any bright color used. Carvings and animal figures are common Chinese accent pieces and Chinese artwork is a must to get an authentic Asian style of decorating. Murals in which a whole wall is painted in a dramatic scene are a very traditional Chinese decorating look. An easy way to create the look of the Chinese type of Asian decorating scheme in your home is to pick one bright accent color and keep all your wood tones dark to contrast that color. Next, add at least five or six fairly large pieces of Chinese art to the room. You could add silk pillows or curtains in your accent color and/or other colors if you need more drama in the room.

Chinese décor
 Asian style home decor

The Japanese type of Asian decorating is based on natural, earthy colors. Natural light is a big part of Japanese design, so this look may work especially well in a room that gets a lot of sunlight. Tatami mats, rice paper, plants and flowers provide most of the accents in the very sparse look that is traditional Japanese decor. The absence of bright color and clutter creates a calming atmosphere.

Japanese décor
 Asian style home decor

Floor pillows and tatami mats can help you start the Japanese type of Asian decorating scheme in your home. Furniture should be minimal and low to the floor. Rice paper screens and lamp shades offer a realistic Japanese touch. A few bonsai plants and a Japanese tea set placed on a table can add a lot of interest while still keeping in with the overall sense of serenity.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

The Duanwu or Dragon Boat Festival, which is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, falls on June 20 this year. It is one of the oldest festivals, not only in China but also throughout the world, with a history of more than 2,000 years.

Poet Qu Yuan in a painting.
 Chinese Culture

The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a patriot poet during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), who committed suicide by flinging himself into the Miluo River in Central China’s Hunan province after his mother kingdom fell into enemy rule.

Legend holds that people in boats raced to the site where he drowned and threw in zongzi (glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves) so fish wouldn’t feed on Qu’s body.

Since then, the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar is celebrated as the Dragon Boat Festival. People hold boat races and prepare zongzi in memory of Qu’s righteousness and his beautiful poems.

1. Eating Zongzi

Different varieties of zongzi tempt the palate.
 Chinese Culture

Also called glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in reed or bamboo leaves, zongzi is an essential Dragon Boat Festival food, but tastes vary between the north and south of China.

In the north people favor sweet zongzi and jujube is used as a filling, while in the south zongzi takes different shapes and various fillings, such as fresh meat, egg yolk, sweetened bean paste or ham.

2. Dragon boat racing

Competitors row a dragon boat during a race in East China’s Anhui Province.
 Chinese Culture

Dragon boat racing is an indispensable part of the festival with the boats so named because the fore and stern are in the shape of a Chinese dragon.

Legend has it that the race originates from the idea that people rowed boats to seek Qu Yuan’s body after he drowned.

3. Hanging auspicious leaves

People hang mugwort leaves and calamus on doors and windows to repel insects and moths.
 Chinese Culture

It is said that the fifth lunar month is considered a “poisonous” one in the Chinese farmer’s almanac because insects and pests are active and it is also high season for people catching infectious diseases.

During the Dragon Boat Festival people in southern China put mugwort leaves and calamus on the doors or windows to keep insects out of their homes. The leaves are believed to have curative properties.

4. Wearing scented sachets and five-color silk thread

A child with scented sachets.
 Chinese Culture

In the north, people believe that wearing scented sachets protects children from evil. The young decorate their clothes with small pouches made from colorful silk cloth with five-color silk thread.

Another custom is to tie thread around a child’s wrists, ankles and neck. Five-color thread holds special significance in China in that it is thought to contain magical and healing properties. Children are not permitted to speak while parents tie the thread for them, neither are they allowed to remove it until after the first summer rainfall when they throw the thread into the river. This is thought to protect them from plague and disease.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Tujia Brocade-Xilankapu

Deep in the remote, mountainous region of Western Hunan Province lives one of the largest minority groups in China. They are called “Tujia,” which literally means the “Soil Family.”

In August, the osmanthus flowers blossom and send forth fragrance.

The Tujia girls are busy weaving brocade.

The fragrance drifts far away,

But the brocade girls’ cloth stretches even further.

– Song of Weaving Girls, traditional Tujia song

People of the Tujia ethnic minority are adept at the handicrafts of stone carving, embroidery, paper-cuts and textile printing. But they are most famous for their brocade. Tujia brocade has a history of 2,000 or more years and embodies the basic features of brocade weaving system of Chinese ethnic groups. It’s a very special skill and is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

 ethnic culture

The Tujia people are good at brocade weaving. The Tujia brocade is known with the name of “Xilankapu”.

Features

Xilankapu, also known as ‘Knitting Floral Bedclothes’, is a Tujia masterpiece. Woven on a simple, ancient wooden waist loom via 12 procedures, this kind of brocade, thick and durable, simple but gorgeous, is reputed to be one of the three most famous brocades in southwestern China.

 ethnic culture

On weaving machines with narrow lathes, it is woven by hand, with blue, black, red, and white threads going lengthwise and, silk, cotton, and wool of many kinds of colors going across. It has an energetic structure, bright and beautiful colors, and unique patterns, showing significant artistry. It is the quintessence of Tujia folk art. In 2006 it was listed in the state-level intangible cultural heritage.

Significance

More than four hundred kinds of traditional decorative patterns on Tujia brocade are unique forms of expression of Tujia ethnic cultural psychology and cultural heritage of different times. The patterns, favoring landscapes, trees, flowers, and animals, reflect their paying homage to nature, and their deep love for life.

 ethnic culture

With no written language, the Tujia people have relied on their traditional craft of brocade weaving to record their history and pass it on to future generations. Through the designs in the brocade, the Tujia people express their understanding not only of history, but of life, society, nature and, of course, art.

Nowadays, thousands pieces of Xilankapu have been sold all over the world every year through e-commerce and modern logistics so that people outside can know more about the culture of Tujia Minority and the market also gives a new life to the cultural heritage.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Chinese Culture and Traditional Decorating Interior

China has a long and interesting history, and in all ages the Chinese decorating is connected with its culture that is to be harmonious with nature. Chinese culture is one of the world’s oldest cultures. Many villas, great houses, and even office buildings are now designed in Chinese style, as more and more people are interested in Chinese culture and want to know the traditional way of life in China. What words can describe the traditional Chinese style interior design? Luxury, classic, peaceful, elegant and simple, these are the words that can come to your mind thinking of Chinese cultural interior.

Chinese Interior Basic Principles

One of the most basic principles in Chinese interior design is simplicity. For them, a room should not be filled with all sorts of common décor. What is important is the proper placement of a few valuable and beautiful objects in a room to achieve optimal effects. The design in Chinese culture is something exotic and emitted something spiritual even magic with room layout, furniture, and color scheme. Modern Chinese designs are evolving and these images are beautiful, because they strike a fine balance by combining tradition and contemporary designs. Chinese interior design is an art of combining simplicity, contemporary, modern, nature and power to make an environment of harmony and serenity, using colorful fabrics of upholstery for home décor. Bright, vivid colors are used in style decorating, with red, gold and black being dominant.

Bedroom Chinese Interior

 Chinese home decor

Red color is a symbol of fortune and prosperity in China and it is picked for the bedroom designs. Having these Chinese designs will enhance the beauty of Asia in your bedroom. It is like entering peaceful gateway for the best relaxation, making the bedroom, combining between luxury, tradition and modern looks.

Living Room Chinese Interior

 Chinese home decor

Chinese people like to invite friends to their homes and most are of a big family. So the living room is the most important place. The living room reflects the Chinese’s way of life. Luxury living is being redefined and emphasis is being placed on comfortable living, without compromising the style. The sofa is of solid wood and delicately sculptured by hand. The paintings and calligraphies are necessities in the living room.

Reading Corner in Home

 Chinese home decor

If you love to read, then the Chinese style study room will offer you a perfect reading corner and environment. The study room is a special place in the traditional Chinese style homes. Beside of the solid wood floor board, other decorating elements include the reading desk, reading chair and bookcase. Anyone who has such a room will be eager to go back home after a busy day to enjoy a peaceful and happy private time.

Chinese style interior design can be an inspiration for you, creating balance and harmony in home surrounding.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Horsetail Embroidery, the Unique Craft of the Shui People of China

Every ethnic group of China has its own unique way of designing and adorning their costumes and textiles. For centuries a special traditional type of embroidery, horsetail embroidery, has been kept alive by the Shui women in Guizhou province, southwest China. The horsetail embroidery is a special craft which uses horsetail hair as a main raw material for embroidery, and is passed down from generation to generation by women of Shui Nationality.

A Shui woman in traditional costume embroidered with horsetail hair
 Chinese Culture

Origin

The horsetail embroidery of Shui Nationality has an untraceable origin. Shui legend says that when one of the ancestors groomed his horse prior to a race, a lot of horse hair fell to the ground. His wife thought it would be a shame to leave these strong and glossy hairs unused. She collected them and started to use those hairs in her embroideries along with silk threads.

Techniques

Horsetail embroidery is a hard, time-consuming craft. Girls begin learning embroidery at about 5 or 6 years old. Some of them spend 10 years on a single embroidery piece, which is specially prepared for their wedding.

Working with horsetail hair
 Chinese Culture
 Chinese Culture

There are a variety of unique skills and methods involved in this craft. The first step is to take 3 to 4 pieces of horsetail hairs as the core, around which white silk threads are tightly wrapped by hand, making pre-made embroidery threads akin to bass strings. The second is to use the threads to embroider the outline of traditional embroideries and paper-cut patterns. The third is to make flat colored threads with 7 colored silk threads and use them to fill the inside area of the coiled embroidery patterns. The fourth is to complete the rest using such ordinary techniques as flat embroidery, cross-stitch embroidery, random stitch, skipped stitch, etc.

Motif

Horsetail embroidery
 Chinese Culture

Flowers, plants, and mystical creatures from Shui folklore are the common embroidery motifs. Butterfly patterns are woven mostly into children’s clothing or accessories. This is related to Shui beliefs that butterflies are children’s guardians. Dragons, a phoenix and fish also possess great symbolic meaning and are commonly seen on Shui handicraft.

Horsetail embroidery
 Chinese Culture

As another Shui legend says during an ancient flood, a brother and a sister were saved by fish. Their descendants multiplied to become the Shui ethnic group and the image of double fishes became one of the favourite motifs of the Shui artisans.

Features

The horsetail embroidery technique is very intricate, and works using the technique appears to have a bas-relief, with abstract, generalized, and exaggerated shapes.

Horsetail hair embroidered insoles
 Chinese Culture
Horsetail hair embroidered baby carrier
 Chinese Culture

Besides decorating with embroidery all parts of their traditional costume – blouse, trousers, apron, headdress, shoes and even insoles – women use the horsetail hair for embroidering baby carriers, tablecloths, wall hangings, bags and wallets.

Unfortunately, due to social changes and other reasons, the inheritance of horsetail embroidery craftsmanship has been seriously neglected and the quality of modern horsetail embroidery products has become poor. As a result, few people are willing to use such products. As such, it is imperative to protect the special craftsmanship of horsetail embroidery of Shui Nationality from disappearing forever.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–
“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
—————————————————————————————————————————–

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!