Zhang Yunfei

Maoping is a remote natural village located in Leishan County in Guizhou. Among its 1328 residents, 615 are female who are known for their candor, hospitality and traditional Miao embroidery skills. Due to its remote location, limited information access and economic difficulties, the village was unable to promote the art of embroidery.  

滋根之友购买毛坪妇女刺绣品
“Friends of Zigen” buying Maoping embroidery

With support from Zigen and assistance from Zigen volunteers, the village established a Women’s Recreation Center to develop the Maoping Women Embroidery Handicrafts Project. Developing the embroidery craft is a way to promote Maoping women’s creative art and to help retain Miao people’s cultural heritage. The ethnic embroidery craft is a symbol of Miao people’s unity and development.

For more than 30 years, Zigen has supported Maoping village through building the Women’s Recreation Center, training health clinic workers, providing health clinic medical revolving funds, repairing stoves, improving reed fields, distributing financial aids, and developing women’s embroidery craft, etc.

Maoping Women’s Recreation Center is a two-story wooden structure with two rooms on each floor. The larger room is the activity room, now used for embroidery activity. Both floors contain living spaces. The Center provides event venues and enriches the villagers’ lives.

毛坪妇女与滋根之友合影留念
Maoping woman and ‘Friends of Zigen’

In addition to doing farm work in the mountains during the day, Maoping women go to the Recreation Center in the evenings — some embroider, some chat, and some sing Miao folk songs. In this remote rural Maoping village, other than performing farm work all day long, there was no way for the women to increase their income. There was no venue for them to get together. Ever since receiving the support from the Zigen team, these women insisted on coming to the Center to embroider until late at night when they go home to rest.

There are unmarried girls, new mother with baby, ambitious and competent women and elderly women close to 70 in the embroidery team. Even though the grannies cannot see the embroidery patterns clearly, they come to Recreation Center anyway to share their “Stories of Chairman Mao”, bringing entertainment to and lessening the farm work fatigue of the younger women.

With continued help and support from Zigen, Maoping women persisted in carrying on with their traditional embroidery crafts. Not only did they embroider clothes for themselves, they also make aprons, small bags, bookmarks, shoes and other artisan crafts for sale. They have sold more than 3,000 embroidery pieces to increase their income and enhance their status in the village.

Translated by Chelsea Zhang, born in Taipei. Worked in the field of retail store design and construction in Shanghai after graduation. She is working in the digital marketing field in Shanghai.

Edited by Florence Pu, BA of Foreign Language and Literature from National Taiwan University, MS of Library Science from University of Rhode Island, currently retired from the University of California system.

毛坪妇女在一起刺绣
Maoping women embroider together

刺绣“走出去”

学校教育组:张云飞

毛坪村,是位于贵州省雷山县一个偏远的自然村寨,全村人口有1328人,妇女615人,纯朴善良,热情好客,掌握着苗族传统的手工刺绣,但地方偏僻,信息闭塞,加上经济困难,村里没有更多地重视刺绣发展。

有幸的是在2003年10月滋根在村里援建了妇女中心活动楼,并且在滋根利碧琳老师的协助下开始发展了毛坪妇女手工刺绣项目。发展手工刺绣是为了发挥毛坪妇女的创作艺术,同时也是为了保留苗族传统遗留下来的民族文化,毕竟民族手工刺绣劳动象征着苗族人民的团结,民族的发展。

三十多年来,滋根在毛坪村里修建妇女活动中心、培训医疗卫生所卫生员、提供卫生室药品周转金、修节柴灶、修建芦笙场、助学金发放、妇女刺绣等等。

毛坪妇女中心楼是一个二层木质结构楼房,一层有2间房,其中一间大房为娱乐室,现在作为妇女刺绣的活动场所,二层均为住宿,是一个可提供活动、丰富村民生活的场所。

滋根利老师与毛坪妇女一起讨论刺绣产品
Ms. Li Bi Lin (Bik-Lam Lee) discussing embroidery products with Maoping women

毛坪妇女们除了白天到山上做农活之外,晚上就聚集到妇女中心楼来,有的刺绣、有的聊天、还有的唱苗歌拉家常。在边远的毛坪村里,妇女们除了整天忙不完的农活外,就没有什么资源来增加她们的收入,也没有更好的平台让妇女们更好地集中在一起。自从有了滋根支持她们刺绣以后,她们不管白天怎么忙,晚上怎么累,都坚持到妇女中心里来刺绣,直到很晚才回家休息。

刺绣的队伍中有尚未出嫁女孩子,有背着小孩的新媳妇,有年轻能干的妇女,还有一些已经接近七十岁的老奶奶。老奶奶虽然眼睛已经看不见绣花了,但是也到妇女中心来,跟年轻的妇女们讲起“毛主席过去的故事”,增加了妇女们的乐趣,减少了劳动的疲惫。

有了滋根一直以来的支持与帮助,毛坪村的妇女们还一直坚持做传统手工艺刺绣,她们除了绣衣服自己穿外,还绣了一些围腰、小口袋、书签、鞋子等艺术品,曾经卖出去3000多件刺绣品,增加了妇女们的收入,提供了妇女们在农村的地位。

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