Shoe Embroidery: Zhang Yi Gui 张艺桂

Pen drawing of an artist's studio

Zhang Yi Gui is in her eighties and lives in Quan Bei Village. Working alongside Miao Yu Zhi, her daughter-in-law, Zhang Yi Gui embroiders designs for children’s shoes. It is customary for small babies to wear the embroidered shoes with a matching hat. Baby boys wear red colored shoes with a tiger head design. The red color means the boy will grow up to be an important official, like a general, and the tiger is a symbol of health and power. Baby girls wear green colored hats and shoes with flower designs. Green is a color for princesses, and the flowers symbolize beauty. Inside the baby girls’ flower design there is also a tiger face for protection.

Zhang Yi Gui is very clever, and taught herself how to make these shoes. She originally made them for her grandchildren, and now makes them to sell for money. She is teaching her daughter-in-law to carry on this craft.