Tajinisa is proud of her deep purple hands. The indelible dye stains on the 51-year-old craftswoman’s hands are testament to her decades of toil dyeing and weaving Atlas silk, a national intangible cultural heritage. She is one of the most skilled Atlas silk masters in Jiya village of Hotan prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the birthplace of the exquisite fabric. Famous for its rich and bright colors graced with distinctive zigzag patterns, Atlas silk has been used by Uygur women for clothing and interior design for centuries. Legend has it that during the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), a princess who came to the region to get married brought a silkworm cocoon with her, and residents soon began to raise silkworms of their own. The story is supported by artifacts in the Shanpulu ancient tomb and Niya town relics. Various unearthed silk remnants and weaving tools help narrate the history of Atlas silk, which dates back to the time of the Silk Road. In Hotan, manufacturing techniques of the ancient fabric have barely changed over the past 2,000 years. Tasks including winding silk, spinning thread, dyeing and weaving are still performed using age-old techniques. It takes much more time to… Read full this story
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