Regional Intangible Cultural Heritage
The process of making hand-loomed cloth is highly complicated. It requires 17 to 18 processes, e.g. stripping cotton seeds, cotton batting, twisting into cotton silver, spinning yarns, making plied yarns, dying colors, putting yarns onto the bobbin, starching the yarns, brushing, reeling and weaving.
The pattern and color of Maqiao hand-loomed cloth is diversified, including white cloth, cloth dyed with various colors, e.g. ultramarine blue, darkish blue, black, yellow and red, and cloth being made by matching various colors together, e.g. red, white, yellow, blue, black, green and purple.
The following tools are required for making hand-loomed cloth, e.g. spinning wheel, spindle, bobbin, Jing Che, Fa Che, holding brush, scrubbing brush, forky timber pile, tripod, bamboo, bamboo shelf, bamboo strip for separating yarn, bar, shaking rod, He Chuan, Sha Yu, shuttle, Zong Tou, buckle and loom, etc.
Maqiao hand-loomed cloth has a long history. In 1965, several pieces of blueprint cloth were excavated from a tomb of Ming Dynasty in Sanyou Production Brigade of Maqiao Commune. As those local elderly people recalled, before 1949, peasants in Maqiao lived a simple rural life that men were working in the fields and women were weaving cloth at home. Few people engaged in business. No matter a peasant has his own land or leases land from land owners, every household took spinning and weaving as the basic skills of rural life. According to historical records, since Huang Daopo, a spinning expert in the Yuan Dynasty, reformed the techniques and tools of spinning, the manual textile techniques and standards in rural areas of Shanghai were further improved. In Ming and Qing Dynasty, Maqiao area was under the administration of Songjiang Fu. Textile industry was prosperous here, making Maqiao a famous production place of clothes and quilts.
Photo: Some patterns of hand-loomed cloth collected from local peasants’ home in Maqiao Town
In the past, every peasant has a spinning wheel in his home, and every three or five households have a loom. Women began to learn spinning and weaving since childhood, and all peasants made clothes by themselves. As we’ve learned from local people, in the past, when a peasant wanted to take a wife, apart from furniture and articles of daily use, the man’s family attached great importance to how many pieces of cloth and clothes that the bride brought from her family. From these things, the man’s family could judge whether the woman’s family is rich or poor and whether she is good at doing housework. In the 1960s and 1970s, when a woman got married, she would bring dozens pieces of hand-loomed cloth to her husband’s family. Now, many peasants in Maqiao Town are still keeping hand-loomed cloth in their closet, because they are important souvenir of marriage. Hand-loomed cloth has become a history of the past, but it is irreplaceable by other things, because it has made important contributions to local peasant’s life.
Photo: Blueprint cloth being excavated from a tomb of Ming Dynasty in Linjiaqiao zhai in the former Sanyou Production Brigade. It has high artistic standard and research value, and has been collected in a book, “Talk about China”.
Copyright: Maqiao Town People’s Government, Minhang District, Shanghai (H ICP No.09047585)
Address: 2188 Beisong Road, Minhang District, Shanghai Postal code: 201111 Tel.: 64090120
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