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Where embroidery becomes an art form

SANLIN has been known as "the town of embroidery" for 700 years. Its embroidery can be seen on the pillows of the former United States President Ronald Reagan, on the silk night-robes of Queen Elizabeth II and on the overcoat of Prince Norodom Sihanouk.

The town is famous for its embroidery art, its thin threads, rich stitching, more than 120 kinds of stitches, its variety of colors, refinement and delicacy. As well it is famous for never leaving obvious sewing marks on its garments.

Its unique "drawing, pulling and carving" craft is how its embroidery earned its name.

Drawing is the drawing-off of several threads from the silk so as to form a geometrical pattern; pulling is using a needle and thread to pull the silk into manifold motif patterns; and carving means cutting parts with scissors and then carve them so that they become hollowed-out three-dimensional works.

The town has two embroidery studios preserving this ancient skill. Each Friday, embroidery craftsmen are invited to local primary and middle schools to give lectures and foster the students' interest in this ancient art.


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