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Dating festival offers Miao artisan platform

By Yang Jun and Chen Zhuo | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-20 08:05

Dating festival offers Miao artisan platform

Wu Shuigen established Shui Gen Ethnic Jewelry Co Ltd in 2010. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Miao ethnic group in Shidong town of Southwest China's Guizhou province celebrates a festival called "sisters' meal" on the 15th day of the third lunar month every year.

The dating custom is designed to enable young women to meet their future husbands at a lavish feast, wearing stunning traditional clothing.

Although the annual festival is closer to a beauty contest for the local Miao women, Wu Shuigen, a 51-year-old silversmith, sees it as an opportunity to showcase his work.

As a national-level intangible cultural heritage inheritor, Wu has made silver jewelry over the past 40 years. His creative designs have made him a celebrity in Shidong.

Each year, Wu prepares two or three sets of silver jewelry for young women who wear them to the festival. Each set includes a crown, a necklace and other accessories, which take him three or four months to make. After the festival, the artisan usually gets more attention from potential customers.

"It is time-consuming to complete a design by hand. The work is exquisite and requires skillful execution," Wu says.

Wu's daughter, Wu Chunxiu, says her father insists that all jewelry has to be checked several times before being sent to the customers, to ensure product durability.

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