One of many Chinese ethnic groups – the Bouyei people – has a very developed folk craft of embroidery. These double-sided embroidered cloths are bright, expressive, and very pretty. Local girls learn how to embroider at a young age and most of them continue to work during their whole life. Bouyei people are interesting because, living in China, they consider themselves Tai, and their culture is closer to Tai then to Chinese.
The Bouyei embroidery is one unique and elegant craftsmanship by the Bouyei ethnic group of people who live in southern China. The group uses embroidery to decorate traditional clothing, baby carrier cloths, and household items (bedspreads, bed curtains, pillowcases, etc.).
The Bouyei people are an ethnic group from China and Vietnam. There are about 3 million people in Bouyei ethnic group, about 2,000 of them live in Vietnam. Though, Bouyei consider themselves “Zhuang”, or “Tai peoples”.
The Bouyei embroidery is double sided – the pattern is seen on the front and on the rare side of the cloth. The traditional patterns of Bouyei embroidery depict flowers, animals, birds, insects, and so on.
Most of the local women are engaged in the traditional handicrafts. Almost every family and each village have its own typical embroidery patterns. One of famous Bouyei craftswomen is Wei Jianfen.
Wei Jianfen, an embroidery successor from Bouyei ethnic group in southwestern China’s Guizhou Province, has been doing embroidery since she was a teenager. The patterns on her work are different from what we can see in the market, as she designed each one of them by herself to distinguish her pieces from others.
She designed and embroidered her own wedding dresses and accessories when she was 18 years old.