Xiangyun Sha: Traditional Homemade Silk
Xiangyun Sha (香云纱), also known as Liang Chou(莨绸), is a kind of home-made silk typical from Shunde in Foshan city, Guangdong province. This particular type of silk is made with natural dyes provided by juice extracted from local plants. Liang Chou is made each year between May to November depending on weather conditions.
Making Liang Chou silk requires altogether 16 steps, which include weaving, repeated dyeing and drying under the sun and in contact with the earth. The relationship to the natural environment is an essential part of the process as the earth and the sun are believed to cause a chemical reaction essential to the silk's unique character. The whole process takes approximately ten days and is done entirely by hand. At the end of the 10 days, the silk is thin, colorful and resilient. The silk is of such quality that even decades later it still appears new.
In recent years, this craft has been facing extinction due to the little profit that can be made from it. The local government has now stepped in to make sure it would be granted the National-level Intangible Cultural Heritage label.
Repeated dyeing and drying under the sun for over 30 times
(By Chen Xueru, David Keyton)