Cross-stitch embroidery is an embroidery art that creates fairly strong decorative effect. Popular in Huangmei County of Hubei Province and Longhui County of Hu'nan Province, the art has its unique regional features in these areas, with Huangmei and Huayao producing the best cross-stitch embroideries.
Huangmei cross-stitch embroidery is widely popular across Huangmei County in Hubei Province. Thanks to the meticulous efforts of generations of rural women, the embroidery art is approaching perfection day by day. The cross-stitch work stands out for its unique artistic expression brought by the perfect combination of bright colors and creative pattern designs.
Huangmei cross-stitch embroidery is said to have originated in the Tang and Song Dynasties and matured in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasty. The main material for the embroidery is locally woven cloth, otherwise known as "big cloth". Dyed cyan, the cloth serves as the background for various patterns in cross-stitch embroidery created by skillful embroiderers. Multicolor threads are used in Huangmei cross-stitch embroidery, which is created by stitching through every crosspoint between the warp and the weft. The embroidery is brilliantly-colored and gives a three dimensional feeling.
Huayao is an ethnic minority group distributed in the Yao Ethnic Township of Huxing Mountain, Xiaoshajiang Township, Dashuitian Township and Matangshan Township that are 1,300 meters above sea level in northern Longhui County. Huayao cross-stitch embroidery dates back a long period of time. It got popular even before the Han Dynasty. Huayao cross-stitch embroidery comes in a thousand or so shapes and sizes, covering a wide variety of subjects.
The main patterns of Huayao cross-stitch embroidery are created with white thick threads against deep blue rough cloth. The simple and unconstrained patterns are based on the coordinates formed by the warp and the weft. The X-shaped stitches are commonly called "cross stitch work", which can also be arranged in the form of a horizontal stroke of Chinese characters. Huayao cross-stitch embroidery is one-of-a-kind in terms of its skills.
With no drafts or moulds needed, Huayao cross-stitch embroidery depends entirely on the deft hands and superb skills of embroidering girls, who cross the stitches along the warp and the weft of the cloth with their bare hands, based on the designs in their minds and interpretations of beauty.