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Qidong's Fengli village upholds art of tiger-head shoe making


Updated: 2024-04-19


A host promotes Fengli tiger-head shoes during a live stream session. [Photo/Nantong Daily]

On March 27, the Fengli Tiger-Head Shoes Cultural Exhibition Hall opened in Fengli village, Donghai town, Qidong.

Tiger-head shoes, a traditional Chinese handicraft, are a type of children's footwear characterized by their tiger-shaped toes. The craftsmanship of making tiger-head shoes has been recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of China. In Qidong, elders traditionally gifted tiger-head shoes to newborns, expressing their love and wishes for the child's safe and prosperous future.


Chen Xiulan (left), an 86-year-old in Fengli village who has been making tiger-head shoes for more than 70 years, teaches people to make shoes. [Photo/Nantong Daily]

The intricate craftsmanship of tiger-head shoes requires several hundred stitches and takes two to three days to complete a pair. In 2018, the local government realized that most practitioners of this craft were elderly, prompting urgent efforts for heritage conservation. Consequently, various activities were organized, and platforms were established to promote Fengli tiger-head shoes. Today, the village has formed a team of over 10 members engaged in training and cultural activities related to tiger-head shoes.

While prioritizing heritage conservation, Shen Saina, Party chief of Fengli village, believes that the best way to preserve tiger-head shoes is through their continued use. On Jan 10, staff from the village presented tiger-head shoes to the first baby born in 2024, ensuring the legacy lives on.


The tiger-head shoes cultural exhibition hall in Fengli village, Qidong. [Photo/Nantong Daily]