Inheritor of Indigo Dyeing of Dong Ethnic Group Helps Reduce Poverty

Editor :Wei Xuanyi
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Inheritor of Indigo Dyeing of Dong Ethnic Group Helps Reduce Poverty()
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Indigo dyeing, a craft inherited through generations among the Dong ethnic group in southwest China's Guizhou Province, was listed the intangible cultural heritage of Guizhou Province in 2012.

Lu Yongmei is an inheritor of indigo dyeing in Zhaoxing Dong Village, Liping County, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, in Guizhou. Lu began to learn spinning and cultivate plants for dyeing from her mother and study the skills of indigo dyeing at her grandfather's indigo dyeing workshop when she was 6. She was skilled at spinning, weaving cloth, indigo dyeing, and making embroidery and sachets when she graduated from the middle school.

When she worked in a local kindergarten in 2014, Lu found most children there were left behind with grandparents by their parents who migrated to other places for work. Driven by the love for indigo dyeing, she and some women in the village established a traditional crafts' company in 2015, to help the locals get jobs at their doorsteps and be able to accompany their children to grow up.

To expand the marketing, Lu made great efforts to develop and bring forth new ideas in embroideries. She combined the Dong embroidering techniques with those of the Miao ethnic group. The innovative embroideries are popular with customers. The handmade fabric products, including indigo dyeing scarves, homespun cloth, beddings and sachets, have been sold to Shanghai, Hangzhou and Shenzhen cities. In 2019, the output value of the company reached more than 4.9 million yuan (US $691,241).

Since its establishment, a poverty alleviation workshop under Lu's company, has obtained one invention patent and seven appearance patents. It has also won more than 80 honorary titles, including the prefecture-level intangible cultural heritage productive protection demonstration base, and the teaching experiment base of the Talents Training Project of Guizhou Ethnic Minorities' Embroidery and Derivative Designing supported by the National Arts Fund.

To allow tourists to better experience the indigo dyeing techniques, Lu also established an indigo dyeing culture experience center, which promotes the traditional dyeing techniques to tourists for free while training local young people with indigo dyeing skills.

The experience center received more than 6,000 experts, scholars, teachers and students and more than 200 tour groups composed of more than 120,000 travelers, from 2014 to 2019. More than 30 free training sessions of craft skills were held for more than 1,500 people, which helped over 600 impoverished households master skills of making crafts and increase income.

Lu will continue to develop and innovate the intangible cultural and creative products, and offer more opportunities for visitors to experience the folk culture.

At the same time, she will boost sales of products via WeChat, livestreaming platforms and online shops, to bring fortune to local people.

 

(Source: China Tourism News/Translated and edited by Women of China)

June 21, 2020
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