Embroidered Shoes绣花鞋

Embroidered shoes (绣花鞋Xiùhuā xié)is a perfect combination of the Shoe Culture and Embroidery Art. On the shoes, beautiful patterns are embroidered with Chinese silk. This unique handcraft used to known by many people. It is reputed as "Chinese shoes".

As early as 5,000 years ago, the Neolithic Age, leather boots already emerged in the daily lives of Chinese people. Gradually, shoes made of various materials in diversified styles came into existence. At that time, men were supposed to work in the land while women were supposed to work at home, taking care of children and husband. Staying at home, those intelligent women have passed down the ancient technique of embroidering shoes from generation to generation. Stitch by stitch, they were narrating the aesthetic notions, cultural traditions, ethics and virtues, as well as the fashion trends of each dynasty by the tiny shoes. From vamp to upper, from welt to sole, embroidery can find the niche to sparkle in line with the Eastern vogue of advocating aestheticism. The motif originates from folk culture and customs, such as flowers, birds, insects, fish, animals, mountains, rivers, fruits, and figures in traditional operas. Auspicious patterns to wish the others have a baby soon and a life-long happy marriage also prevail. People’s values and pursuit for a happy life are vividly displayed in these beautiful embroidered products. When a couple get married, their relatives usually give them embroidered shoes with auspicious patterns such as mandarin duck(鸳鸯Yuānyāng), wishing them have a happy marriage and give birth to many children.

In ancient times, it was believed widely that women should be capable of embroidering. Many women began learning how to embroider and make shoes in their childhood. Gradually, a woman will be regarded talented and skilled if she makes good embroidered shoes. The wisdom and aesthetic taste of a woman are demonstrated by pairs of these shoes created by her. Meanwhile, a bride-to-be(准新娘Zhǔn Xīnniáng)will make shoes, clothes, and daily items with gorgeous embroidery as the best dowries she prepares for herself. A dozen years of endeavor has been spent on the embroidered shoes until the girl’s wedding day, which shows her purity, her loyalty to love, and her pursuit for happiness.

Embroidered shoes are a common cultural treasure owned by the Chinese nation. Among 55 ethnic minorities in China, over 20, such as Miao, Zhuang, Dong, Yao, Yi, take embroidered shoes as the characteristic of their costumes. The embroidered patterns of each ethic minority are varied, yet with the same label – China.

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