Nuosu Needlework Culture

Most Nuosu women make their own embroidery floss from regular thread.  Using spindles and whorls, they carefully twist lengths of thread into twined floss of the desired thickness.  They then either stitch the thread directly into the base cloth, or delicately couch the floss with tiny stitches.  With these techniques, the Nuosu are able to create scenes that evoke the landscape in which they live — magnificent mountains with herb- and flower-filled meadows dotted amongst the forests.

The Nuosu have also channeled their love of bright colors and their skill in stitchery to adapt modern materials into traditional forms.  Alongside felted wool vests with all hand-twined and stitched embroidery, they have created velveteen jackets, with factory-made ribbons and trim gaily sewn using a treadle sewing machine.  Additionally, cooperatives have been established where young Nuosu women are encouraged to use their embroidery techniques to create purses, pillows, and other items that they decorate with modern interpretations of traditional Nuosu designs.

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