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Stitching up history

Updated: Mar 14, 2022 By Wang Kaihao China Daily Print
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A restorer demonstrates the kesi (traditional weaving) technique.[Photo by Zou Hong and Wang Kaihao/China Daily]

An all-women team at the Palace Museum conserves old textiles, Wang Kaihao reports.

Beauty is probably the reason that has kept them sitting in front of exquisite centuries-old woven pieces and forgetting the flow of time.

Qu Tingting has worked in the textile conservation studio of the Palace Museum in Beijing since 2013. Doing the needlework on ancient Chinese embroidery, silk pieces and other types of textiles, Qu says she does not have even one moment of boredom.

"It's not because you are interviewing me and it sounds better saying so," Qu says, laughing in the studio. "Indeed, I feel fortunate to have found a job that I really enjoy and can be fully devoted to."

With fashion designing as her major in college, Qu says in her current work, she "feels more comfortable as it is a quieter working atmosphere than that industry".

"Being a doctor curing the ancient textiles is an ideal choice," she says.

Swerving away from a career where people always catch up with the running clock, Qu's current job is very time-consuming. In the past eight years, Qu has fixed merely some 50 relics.

"Sometimes it even takes a whole month to sew just a hole," she says. "I can even count how many stitches I make every day. Before every stitch, I need rigid concentration."

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