Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum-Shui Ethnic Horsetail Embroidery

Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum

Shui Ethnic Horsetail Embroidery

by Live in Guizhou


Image Source: Eyesnews

Shui Ethnic Horsetail Embroidery is a traditional art form from Sandu Shui Autonomous County in Guizhou Province and is recognized as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage. On May 20, 2006, the Shui Ethnic Horsetail Embroidery, submitted by Sandu Shui Autonomous County, was included in the first batch of the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List, approved by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.

Horsetail Embroidery of the Shui people is an ancient and ethnically distinctive embroidery technique passed down through generations of Shui women. This special embroidery uses horsehair as a crucial material. The process of creating Horsetail Embroidery is intricate and complex, resulting in products that are quaint, elegant, luxurious, and durable. The embroidery patterns are simple, elegant, and abstract, featuring fixed frameworks and styles. This technique has been practiced in Sandu Autonomous County for over a thousand years and is revered as a “living fossil” of embroidery.

There are no detailed records regarding the origins of Shui Horsetail Embroidery, but it is a craft that has been passed down for millennia, embodying the wisdom of the Shui ancestors. During the Shui traditional festival, the Duan Festival (similar to the Han Chinese Spring Festival), horse racing competitions are held. Influenced by this tradition, Shui women invented the art of Horsetail Embroidery. During these traditional festivals, men participate in horse racing while women, dressed in horsehair embroidered garments, take part in the festivities, adding a beautiful and unique sight to the celebrations.