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Li Haiyan: Championing heritage crafts

ezhejiang.gov.cn| Updated: June 5, 2024 L M S


Li Haiyan (left), a guardian of plant dying techniques, makes handicrafts with indigo-dyed cloth. [Photo/Jinhua Daily]

Li Haiyan, the visionary behind a workshop dedicated to preserving the age-old art of traditional plant dyeing in Dachen village, Yongkang, Jinhua, Zhejiang province, has been instrumental in leveraging this cultural heritage to drive rural vitalization.

As the Dragon Boat Festival approaches, Li finds herself immersed in fulfilling orders alongside fellow residents to create fragrant sachets, all while warmly welcoming streams of tourists eager to immerse themselves in the traditional dyeing techniques.

With an annual visitor count of approximately 50,000, the workshop not only elevates the village's renown and diversifies its offerings, but also grants locals the opportunity to bask in the allure of intangible cultural heritage.

Under Li's expert tutelage, residents have both mastered fundamental dyeing techniques and delved into crafting indigo-dyed handicrafts, thereby bolstering their livelihoods.


Indigo-dyed cloth is made at the plant dyeing workshop by Li Haiyan in Dachen village, Yongkang, Jinhua, Zhejiang province. [Photo/Jinhua Daily]

Li emphasizes that plant dyeing embodies both artistic finesse and practical utility, boasting a unique artistic flair that distinguishes it from other dyeing and weaving methods. Its simplicity and organic essence deeply resonate with people's daily lives, serving as a poignant cultural emblem and a testament to traditional ethnic artistry that remains irreplaceable by alternative textile practices.

During weekends and holidays, Li hosts engaging parent-child practical classes, offering participants of all ages a hands-on experience of the sheer delight of plant dyeing. Her informative sessions impart valuable insights into plant dyeing and aim to ingrain this art form into the fabric of everyday life.

Li's commitment to continue pushing the boundaries of traditional craftsmanship is evident as she consistently implements innovative elements in her works, captivating even the most discerning fans of the art form.


Handicrafts made with indigo-dyed cloth at the plant dyeing workshop in Dachen village, Yongkang, Jinhua, Zhejiang province. [Photo/Jinhua Daily]