Chengdu-Kunming Railway

Original: CHEN Huan-Zhang
Embroidery: Hunan Embroidery Factory
Time: 1975
Dimension: 93×120 cm
In the mid-1970s, the Chengdu-Kunming Railway opened. Now that the railway was situated deep in the mountains with many bridges and tunnels, it gave rise to the plein air painting spree in the Chinese art scene of the times. The Hunan Embroidery Factory had not just professional embroidery artisans but also expert painting artists that created paintings for artisans to produce embroideries. The artisans themselves also had to know painting and how to paint a painting. Regular travel for inspiration was a necessary process in their learning. Only when they fuse their learnings from nature observation into embroidery can they embroider works full of life.
The artist CHEN Huan-Zhang went out for sketching and created an ink wash painting upon his return. The mountains are overlapped in layers; the torrents stir up through the stream; the clouds embrace the peaks. Altogether they form a majestic image, where bridges and tunnels varied from one another cut through in the middle to highlight the theme. The embroidery was produced with the Straight Stitch as well as the Long and Short Stitch, preserving the charm of ink strokes and concealing traces of needlework artfully that give birth to an engaging imagery.