Xinfan Palm Leaves Weaving: Showcase of Woven Wonders

Authors: Jay Liu; Photo/Video: Wei Jiaxin


Xinfan Palm Leaves Weaving (Xinfan Weaving), listed as the third batch of national-level ICH (Intangible Cultural Heritage), is a great example of local traditional crafts.
Originated during the Jiaqing reign of the Qing Dynasty (1796-1820), women in Xinfan County (now part of Xindu District) in northern Chengdu, had been making sandals and straw hats with palm leaves. Summer and autumn are the peak time to manufacture products of palm leaves in a year.
And there is a weaving art center in Majia Town of Xindu District, where you can have a DIY experience in making Xinfan weaving. The center is an enclosed complex decorated with artistic handicrafts works and Liu Junying, inheritor of Xinfan Weaving, is the director of the center.
The exhibition halls, workshops and experience areas can be seen there.
Following Liu, we came to crafts experience area, where scissors and palm leaves—material for weaving—had been prepared. We would experience how to make roses with palm leaves. Liu cut some leaves from a bunch of palm leaves and said: "The woven articles are all made with hands, so you must have nimble fingers."
In order to make a rose, we need to cut and rip palm leaves in a certain proportion and use the soft part as petals of a rose to wrap the stem, which is made with harder part, and then furnish with palm leaves. We practiced many times under the guidance of Liu, and finally we produced our roses. It really takes a lot of patience to learn the skills!
Palm leaves are light and flexible, and craftsmen can use them to weave various animals: the giant panda, peacock and bugs, such as a locust, and household items like handbags and hampers...
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