CORRECTION: The original version of this article mistakenly stated that the new kaleidoscopic patchwork and the piece, “Buddha’s Seven Districts and Nine Meetings”, are one in the same. The corrected version of the article is reproduced below.
A gigantic, exquisite piece of kaleidoscopic patchwork assembled in Nanjing is to be put up for auction, with the bulk of proceeds going to charities for children.
Participants from 124 cities across the country, including craftsmen from Germany and New Zealand, spent 2 years helping to create the 3.8 x 12-metre piece of patchwork. “We hope to use the art of patchwork to pull in the distances between people in order to give more care to those around us”, said Qiao Shuang, speaking to Our Jiangsu.
70 percent of proceeds from the auction of the patchwork, comprising 9,576 angular pieces, will go toward helping children with autism as well as critically ill and less-well-off children.
Patchwork is said to have originated in Northern China and Ancient Egypt as the art of sewing together fabric scraps in such a fashion that creates an art piece. Employing silk or cotton, the technique is mainly used when making Chinese quilts, although it can be used to craft many other objects.
According to the Origin of Baijia Yi (Chinese patchwork) the first emperor of the Liu Song Dynasty was said to have come from an “underprivileged” family. His mother would gather rags from the neighborhoods to create patchwork. Upon becoming the emperor, he commissioned such for all babies in his family. In China, patchwork symbolises luck and each patch represents a blessing towards a new born baby.
The world of charity and donations in China is a cloudy one at best. While a large majority of the populace are keen to give, unfortunately, the reputation of charity is somewhat marred, due to multiple cases of fraudulent activity, which makes choosing genuine charities a struggle. This method of art and auction breathes new life into the act and adds clarity to the murky waters of charity in the Middle Kingdom.
Qiao has been invited to show the piece in Korea, due to expressed interest by curators at the 4th Shanghai International Handmade Expo. The remaining 30 percent of proceeds from the auction will be used for the development and promotion of patchwork art.
A teacher at Nanjing Art University, Qiao is well-known in the world of domestic patchwork art. A French International Young Artists Competition winner, Qiao previously designed and created the patchwork piece, “Buddha’s Seven Districts and Nine Meetings”, at Nanjing’s Bao’en Temple Pagoda.