Chinese Artist Unveiled 'Hair Embroidery' Exhibition in Taipei

hair embroidery show
A rarely-seen 'hair embroidery' exhibition showing the Chinese craft of using human hair instead of thread for needlework, was on display in December 2011 at Fo Kuang Yuan Art Gallery in Taipei.
The solo exhibition featured 60 works created by Chinese artist Zhou Yinghua, whom Chinese media hail as the "best hair embroiderer" in China.
The origins of the art can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty, when girls cut their long hair and used it to weave the image of Buddha as a gesture of showing respect to their god, Zhou said in a press conference in Taipei on Sunday (Nov. 21).
Nearly lost in the Qing Dynasty due to its complexity, Zhou began to learn how to use the traditional technique under the influence of her father, who founded an embroidery school in Suzhou and created the first modern hair embroidery in China.
To embroider with hair, she would collect hair from females under the age of 30, who had never gotten a perm or dyed their hair.
The healthy hair would then be scientifically processed to rid it of protein for better preservation.
Compared with silk or thread embroideries, Zhou said hair embroideries could last longer, because human hair was free of rust and would not discolor.
While traditional hair embroidery usually portrayed the images of Buddha with the natural black color of the hair, the modern works created by Zhou have a greater diversity of themes and colors.
She said she travels across the world to collect blond, gray, and red hairs to make embroideries that echo Chinese landscape paintings.
Among the most colorful is a 1,400-centimeter long embroidery that imitates the famous 18th painting "Prosperity of Suzhou in Qing Dynasty, " which Zhou has spent the last three years working on.
The embroidery was exhibited at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai before being publicly exhibited in Taipei.
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