Binzhou village family preserves tiger fabric art craft

By Zhu Shengnan| (| Updated : 2022-03-21

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For over 30 years, Liu Qinghua has been working on the design and fabrication of tiger fabric art.

Born in a handicraft family in Luliu village, Boxing county, Binzhou, Shandong province, Liu credits her interest in the traditional craft to her grandmother, who made her a pair of tiger-head shoes as a gift when she was young.

With a history of over 150 years in Boxing county, tiger fabric art is a provincial-level intangible cultural heritage item in Shandong. It is also a very popular handicraft among Chinese people. It can be used to create festival gifts for kids, as well as mascots for guarding homes and praying for blessings.

As an inheritor of tiger fabric art, Liu can make over 30 kinds of tiger fabrics completely by hand. 

"It is very complicated to make tiger fabrics," she said. "There are over 10 procedures, including designing, cutting, sewing, filling, outlining, and embroidering."

The tiger fabric artwork she creates features a cute look, a stocky body, outward feet, and a slightly raised head, representing vigor, vitality, and childish innocence.


Liu makes tiger fabric artwork in her workshop. [Photo/Binzhou Daily]

She frequently uses black, red, yellow, and cyan as the colors for the bottom of her artwork, as well as white for the belly. Her artworks are embellished with gold thread, a silver strip, and colored silks, representing auspiciousness and luck.


Tiger fabric works created by Liu [Photo/Binzhou Daily]

Every piece of artwork Liu makes is vivid and eye-catching, as well as different in shape, size, and color.

"However, no matter what look the tiger has, there is always the Chinese character 'Wang' (王), meaning 'king' on its head," said Liu.

Liu's tiger fabrics were displayed in the Shandong Folk Art and Culture Exhibition held at the National Museum of China in 2020, which made her very proud. The largest displayed work was two meters high and over three meters long, which required two people to lift it up.

Liu has regarded tiger fabric art as her lifetime career. In addition, she also teaches local housewives, seniors, and the disabled how to make tiger fabric art. As a result, more jobs have been created in which this traditional handcraft can also develop better and be carried forward.


Liu's tiger fabric artwork [Photo/Binzhou Daily]

Influenced by her mother, Liu's 36-year-old daughter has continued her family's work. She has learned all the procedures to make tiger fabric art. She is also in charge of selling the family's tiger fabric artworks nationwide in both online and offline platforms. Some of the family's works even have been exported overseas.