On a spring day of Jiangnan, the long and gentle daylight shed through lattice window along with quiet courtyard. Everything was solemn and graceful. The lady was holding a needle, embroidering with hair, staying up from day to night and a work of Buddha was completed.
Hair embroidery was also known as ink embroidery in ancient times. It started with blue print in black thread and then replaced the thread with hair. Embroidered by rolling, wrapping, cutting and connecting, the surface of work is like outline drawing with no color. The hair embroidery originated from Tang Dynasty, the believers used their hair to embroider Buddha images with their piety. The filial daughter Zhou used her blood to write down Saddharma-pundarika-sutra with totally seventy thousand words and then embroidered her calligraphy with her hair within twenty-three years long. The hair embroidery is different from ordinary silk work. It reflects human spirits at the very beginning. Hair in painting is no other than artist soul work.
Suzhou is always the center of hair embroidery art. Zhou Yinghua is a preserver of modern hair embroidery as a native Suzhounese. She inherited her father’s sticking to this art and his spirit, who was also known as the father of modern hair embroidery, and followed her heart with loneliness. She has devoted herself to this art for twenty years, not only keeping traditional art skill, but also spreading it. The hair embroidery is beyond art work, but an elegant image of purified minds in this fickle and materialized society.
Our appreciation on her generosity by donating two of her works, Vendor and Avalokitesvara to enrich our collections.
Director of Suzhou Museum