Traditional Chinese embroidery art displayed in Beijing

An embroidery work of the painting The Riverside Scene at the Qingming Festival Photos: Billie Feng

An exhibition titled Silk Memories is running at the National Library of China (NLC), Beijing. More than 300 exhibits introduce a fantastic world of silk embroideries to visitors. The exhibition will come to a close on February 16.

The exhibition is divided into five sections—“Knowing about Silk”, “History of Silk”, “Silk as Intangible Cultural Heritage”, “Silk Roads” and “Products and Literature”. The “History of Silk” section elaborates on the origins and development of the Chinese silk embroidery art and its influence on politics and economics through words, pictures and multimedia. The “Silk Roads” section tells about the opening and development of the three main trade routes connecting east and west with the help of words and maps; pictures of relics unearthed along the Silk Roads are also displayed in this section.

Ancient books on display

In addition, 70 ancient Chinese books, 108 contemporary Chinese books and 26 foreign books on silk embroidery are on display. The books include academic monographs, folklore, poetry, novels and travelogues, covering various aspects of silk embroidery, such as rearing silkworms, innovation of looms and profiles of well-known weavers. The books are arranged in chronological order so that visitors can get a sense of the historical development of silk embroidery in China.

The court dress of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty

Prior to the exhibition, the staff of the NLC interviewed 19 inheritors of Chinese intangible cultural heritage. The videos of the interviews are played in a loop on LED screens in the library. In the videos, the inheritors demonstrate their skills while talking about the history of the legacies handed down by their predecessors.

The NLC has also held exhibitions for New Year pictures and lacquer ware. Zhou Heping, director of the NLC, said the library will continue its commitment to bringing people closer to intangible cultural heritage and enhancing public awareness about the importance of preserving these disappearing skills.

An ancient loom


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