Course aims to revive temari skill in Songjiang

Yang Yang
A course in making temari balls was launched in Xiaokunshan Town in December. 
Yang Yang
Course aims to revive temari skill in Songjiang
Yue Cheng / Ti Gong

Li Xin, a trainer of a temari ball making course in Xiaokunshan Town demonstrates her skill at the craft. 

Course aims to revive temari skill in Songjiang
Yue Cheng / Ti Gong

Li Xin teaches her students about how to make a temari ball. 

A course in making temari balls was launched in Xiaokunshan Town in December aiming to restore the popularity of the delicately-embroidered string balls and promote traditional Chinese culture.

Temari balls, or balls to be played with by hands, originated from Tzu-Chu balls, or Chinese footballs in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). They gained popularity as they spread to neighboring countries and transformed from an aristocratic toy to one owned and played with by ordinary people.

As the making of a temari ball takes time and skill, a ball is regarded as something that can bring luck and happiness.

“A beginner’s level for making temari balls welcomes everybody as a person able to hold a needle and thread can make one. But a master’s level for making temari balls can be very demanding as it requires endless imagination and creativity,” said Li Xin, a trainer for the temari ball making course.

A basic ball, a flexible rule, a tray of pearl pins and cotton threads of a variety of colors are all the materials a person needs when making a temari ball. Then he or she measures the ball’s circumference with the soft rule, divides it into several proportionated sections and marks them with pearl pins, and finally embroiders on the ball repeated geometric patterns with threads of different colors, according to Li’s explanation in the course.   

Course aims to revive temari skill in Songjiang
Yue Cheng / Ti Gong

A basket of temari balls

Course aims to revive temari skill in Songjiang
Yue Cheng / Ti Gong

Colored threads used to make temari balls

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