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Nantong's colorful homespun fabric-making techniques

en.nantong.gov.cn Updated: 2023-06-28


Products made of Nantong colorful homespun fabric. [Photo provided to en.nantong.gov.cn]

The colorful homespun fabric-making techniques of Nantong, East China's Jiangsu province, have a history of more than 600 years. Nantong-made colorful homespun fabric features exquisite craftsmanship, rich patterns, and distinctive regional characteristics.

Nantong colorful homespun fabric can be mainly divided into two styles – Tongru and Qihai.

Tongru refers to Tongzhou and Rugao where most residents have lived for generations and they are conservative and traditional, embodying a homespun style that is simple in color but elegant in pattern.


A qipao-style sleeveless shirt made of Nantong colorful homespun fabric. [Photo provided to en.nantong.gov.cn]

Tongru homespun fabric is usually woven with blue and white yarn in traditional patterns of wicker, ants and Osmanthus fragrans, a type of olive tree.

Qihai refers to Qidong and Haimen, both of which are coastal areas. Local residents usually need to fight against bad weather, which gives them a character of courage and aggressiveness.

These characters lead to the varied and innovative patterns of Qihai homespun fabric, which highlights geometrical patterns and emphasizes a sense of rhythm and decorative effect. The fabric's representative patterns are reed flowers, bamboo joints, and balled flowers, among others.

In 2008, the colorful homespun fabric making techniques were listed as Nantong intangible cultural heritage items and two years later were upgraded as a national intangible cultural heritage item.