Yang Xiaotong, a master of Manchu embroidery, which is a State-level intangible cultural heritage, impresses people all over the world with her works.
The Chinese Cheongsam Association once ordered 5,860 qipao (a traditional body-hugging, one-piece dress) with Manchu embroidery from Yang’s studio, and Yang once received an invitation from France’s famous Louvre Museum to exhibit her works there.
More than 200 of her works were selected by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries for exhibitions in places all over the world. The National Museum of China in Beijing has also held activities about her embroidery works.
As a fourth generation inheritor of Manchu embroidery, Yang began her study of the art from when she was only 4 years old from her grandmother, who participated in the work of making a wedding dress for Empress Wanrong, the wife of Emperor Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Yang explained that after Huang Taiji (1592-1643) proclaimed himself emperor in 1636 in Shenyang, Manchu embroidery became a symbol of royal culture and status, and officials felt honored if they were given an item of Manchu embroidery.
Since 1992, Yang has created thousands of Manchu embroidery works, including clothes for Chinese celebrities such as Yang Lan and Zhang Ziyi.
Yang Xiaotong has made great efforts to inherit and promote the intangible cultural heritage, embroidering the designs on quilts, pillows, purses and modern qipao, and as well creatively embroidering English words on these things, which are popular among purchasers.
With the increasing popularity of Manchu embroidery, more people are learning the skill.
Yang opened a studio in Hunnan district in Shenyang to provide free classes for residents, and so far she has trained more than 700 people.
Yang is now a distinguished guest professor at the International Education College of Liaoning University, promoting Manchu embroidery to more people.