Tapestry of time: weaving past and future

Woolen needlepoint tapestry is a kind of embroidery using colored wool to create patterns and designs in linen. Master Xu Fengying has been making this art for almost 58 years...

Directed by Tang Dafei and Qiu Zheqian. Edited by Zhong Youyang. Translated by Iverson Zhang. Special thanks to Andy Boreham.

Woolen needlepoint tapestry is a kind of embroidery using colored wool to create patterns and designs in linen. It originated in Europe and was brought to China at the beginning of the 20th century.

With vivid color, clear gradation and a distinct style, woolen needlepoint tapestry was called "Eastern canvas" because it was believed to be as realistic as oil paintings.

The processes for this craft are very complicated, and include dying, knitting and coloring. Each step is critical and time-consuming — to finish a complete artwork usually takes several months or more.

Xu Fengying is a woolen needlepoint tapestry master who has been working in this area for almost 58 years. For her, making woolen needlepoint tapestry is an instinctive mission — she’ll do it her whole life if her physical condition allows her to.

"We don’t know if we can keep the tradition going," she said with her voice shaking. "I hope we can pass it on." 

The video above is Master Xu's story.

Tang Dafei / SHINE
Tang Dafei / SHINE
Tang Dafei / SHINE
Tang Dafei / SHINE
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