The Patchwork Art of West China
The patchwork is a traditional folk art in which a painting is created with cotton cloth and threads by hand stitching. The art with a distinctive local flavor is popular in north Shaanxi area in west China.
The embryonic form of the patchwork originated from the needlework of ordinary peasant women in rural areas of north Shaanxi. While mending clothes, they would sew patterns like animals and plants as adornments. These patterns embodied their good wishes for better life. Today, this unique art form has been deeply rooted in the masses of local laboring people.
The art of patchwork that turns waste to beauty is not limited to clothes, but can be seen everywhere in daily life: the curtains outside the doors of cave dwellings, children's shoes caps and bellybands, women's bags, aprons and men's cigarette cases and wallets etc.
Influenced by paper cutting, another folk fork, the patchwork shares some similarity with paper cutting in terms of the basic forms, but more abstract, exaggerated and lively. The color tones of patchwork are based on folk embroidery, but with sharper contrast than the latter. As the patchwork involves layers and layer of patches, the thickness produces a special relief, 3-D feel.
The subjects of the patchwork are mainly from traditional culture and folk legends. Common subjects include the Qilin Bringing the Child, Door Gods, the Dragon King and the Kitchen God etc. The age-old art is carried on while enjoying further development in the continuing exploration.