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Dongming of Shandong: Ingenuity of Folk Art – Provincial Intangible Cultural Heritage of Blue Cloth with White Designs

HEZE, China

The traditional craft of hand-printed blue cloth in Dongming has a history of over 200 years. Sun Chaobin, the fifth-generation inheritor of the Sun family's blue cloth printing tradition in Longshanji Village, Datun Town, Dongming County, Shandong Province, started learning the craft from his father at the age of 13 and is now in his sixties.

The craft of blue cloth with white designs is renowned for its traditional folk techniques of hand spinning, hand weaving, and hand dyeing, showcasing a pure, simple, vibrant, and harmonious blue-and-white beauty. Widely used in rural households, this craft is entirely manually dyed, with intricately hand-engraved patterns and an exceptionally complex production process. The clear white motifs against the blue backdrop resemble white clouds in a blue sky, evoking a sense of simple, elegant, refreshing, and serene beauty. This craft holds significant practical importance in the daily lives of rural households.

The patterns on blue cloth with white designs typically feature plant and floral motifs, animal patterns, and sometimes simple geometric shapes. These patterns are crafted from various natural forms using rich techniques, resulting in a diverse array of designs. The lively and elegantly simple patterns are a testament to the long-term accumulation of wisdom through labor and daily life. With their exquisite form, rich symbolism, unique style, and auspicious connotations, patterns such as "Phoenix Playing with Peony," "Kylin Sending Sons," and "Festive Celebration" are beloved by the people.

Source: News Office of the People's Government of Dongming County