The story appears on

Page A11

January 29, 2012

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Paralyzed man creates embroidery

JIN Ji's arms are paralyzed but he holds an embroidery needle in his mouth and seems to kiss the cloth as he amazingly executes cross-stitches to create peonies, peaches, tigers and cartoon characters. Victoria Fei reports.

A very few people with disabilities and determination can develop extraordinary skills. Those without use of their arms and hands have been able to paint by holding a paintbrush in their mouth or between their toes. The winner of "China's Got Talent" two years ago lost his arms in an accident but plays the piano with his toes.

One of the more unusual accomplishments is elaborate cross-stitch embroidery produced by 30-year-old Jin Ji, a cerebral palsy patient whose fingers are frozen and unable to grasp - but he manipulates a needle with his mouth. He has slight motion in his arms so he can nudge the cloth and move his head.

Someone threads a needle for him but he does the rest.

He never gives up. He also paints.

It's literally painstaking work, sometimes his lips bleed, and he proceeds very slowly. Jin hardly speaks but murmurs to a social worker, "Since I like it, I don't feel tired at all."

Jin, born with congenital cerebral palsy, was abandoned at birth and spent his childhood in a state home for children.

When he turned 18, he moved to the No. 2 Shanghai Welfare Home in Chongming County.

When social workers introduced cross-stitch embroidery, he developed an interest.

His work includes vivid peony flowers, fish, fruit and trees.

"Fire and Ice" depicts a black horse full of energy and power. It was sold for 12,000 yuan (US$1,900) at a charity auction. The proceeds benefit orphanages and help physically challenged people. It also funds materials for Jin's embroidery.

His residence is home to more than 750 orphans and adults with disabilities.

"At the very beginning, considering his physical condition, we only arranged for him to stitch a small bag. But he astonished everyone with his elaborate work and he is much admired," says Huang Minxia, director of rehabilitation at the social welfare home.

"Cross-stitching demands great patience and skill. It's not easy for an ordinary person, let alone a man whose paralyzed hands are too week to even hold a needle. His challenges are 1,000 times greater than those faced by other people."

For many people embroidery is a pastime, but to Jin and others at the home, it's a very important job, a mission.

He uses an ordinary needle, short and thin. With each stitch, he almost kisses the cloth.

At the beginning when he was learning, he put his head so close to the cloth that he could hardly see the right hole and stitch in the right place. When he got the color wrong, he pulled out the thread and started over.

"Fire and Ice" took 10 months to complete. A small piece featuring a "longevity peach" required three months and around 10,000 stitches.

He spends all his time stitching, even in his dormitory.

Jin seems to speak a language that only his teacher can understand. He seldom makes eye contact with strangers, but when he is stitching, he is very focused.

Cross-stitching helps rehabilitate the brain and make the hands more flexible, Huang says.

"Jin has an indomitable spirit. He is relentless and he perseveres," Huang says.

When Jin was age seven he started painting, holding a brush in his mouth. He has filled a number of sketchbooks with drawings of tigers, birds and animation characters. All those motor skills and all that drawing helps in his embroidery.

Today Jin is working on a new piece of needlework.

His needle quickly moves up and down. Everyone who watches is astonished and awed.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend