Jul 17, 2012

Some of China’s most unique cultural traditions are facing extinction. But Chinese banks are offering a helping hand, by stepping up their financial aid to companies in the art world, especially small and medium sized ones.

ICBC, one of China’s biggest banks, has already lent 90 billion yuan, or close to 15 billion US dollars. Other banks are developing new forms of loans to help the cultural sector.

Su embroidery is a folk art from Suzhou in eastern China that dates back more than 2,000 years. It’s famous for its subtle and refined needlework and typically features natural sceneries, such as flowers, birds, and animals.(CNTV.cn)

This is no ordinary picture of Queen Elizabeth the Second.This portrait is made of tens of thousands of silk threads on a gauzy piece of silk. The thinnest thread used is just 1/64th the width of a human hair. The work is so delicate, it’s no wonder Buckingham Palace wanted it for its own collection.

And whose skilled hands created this?

Su embroidery is a folk art from Suzhou in eastern China that dates back more than 2,000 years. It’s famous for its subtle and refined needlework and typically features natural sceneries, such as flowers, birds, and animals.(CNTV.cn)

Artist Yao Jianping has the softest hands I’ve ever shaken. She is one of the few inheritors of the Su embroidery art form.

Su embroidery is a folk art from Suzhou in eastern China that dates back more than 2,000 years. It’s famous for its subtle and refined needlework and typically features natural sceneries, such as flowers, birds, and animals.

Laura Luo said, The most difficult part of this Suxiu embroidery is the eye of the bunny. Just this tiny dot here uses over 100 colours and shades and it takes 2 weeks to finish. As for the whole piece, it takes a skilled artist 10 months.

And it’s exactly this lengthy process that has made Suxiu a dying craft.

once dying art could come alive again.

Yao Jianping, Suxiu artist, said, “We invested a lot of time but the effect only comes out slowly. It takes at least three years to learn the basic skills. And during these three years, life can get very dull and lonely, and there is no guaranteed profit. And nowadays, young people generally want to earn quick money, so the number of our apprentices is decreasing.”

However, Yao is not discouraged. She is finding a new way to turn this ancient art into a trendy fashion.

Yao Jianping said, We can mix embroidery with fashion design. Our concept is to win the market with a small amount of refined and high-quality products. We have to build a system for design, production and marketing, and eventually build our own brand and get accepted by people.

But she can’t do it without financial support. The challenge is that banks rarely lend money to produce art.

Gong Liang, Asst. GM, Small Enterprise Financing Div., ICBC Suzhou, said, Risk of artwork evaluation is high, as we do not have mature evaluation system in China. But we want to support cultural enterprises, especially the small and micro ones, so we made some innovation in form of collaterals: we introduce credit loan. In other words we issue loans to artists based good reputation and personal credibility, and level of influence in the market.

ICBC was the first to issue Yao loans worth 23 million yuan, or 3.7 million US dollars. And there could be more on the way.

Gong Liang said, Currently we are developing copyright collaterals, we are also considering taking artworks themselves as collaterals. This would require professional evaluation firms to evaluate the artworks’ market prices. We will also set up a set of internal evaluation systems to minimise the risks on our side.

SOURCE : peopledaily.com.cn

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