The Horsetail Embroidery

 The Horsetail Embroidery



Horsetail embroidery is a traditional handicraft of Shui minority women in Sandu Shui Autonomous County, Guizhou Province. As its name suggests, horsetails are used to make embroidery. As a traditional art form of Shui women, it is used to make decorations on clothes, shoes, wallets and T-shaped bags for carrying babies on one's back.

A thread for embroidering has to be spun into three thin threads, which then entwine three to four pieces of horsetail hair. The hair is used to create different patterns. Cross-stitching, flat embroidery, and random embroidery are also needed to complete a piece.

Horsetail embroidery is intricate, and a dress decorated with horsetail embroidery may take more than a month to complete.

The skill is being lost as young Shui women now prefer moving to big cities to work or study. More measures should be taken to train Shui minority women in the art form before it becomes extinct.