A Weaver on the Horizon

Welcome to the Year of the Dragon! In honor of the Chinese New Year, which began this last Monday, here's the story of Huang Daopo, a legendary Chinese hero of handweaving.

 

Daopo was born in 1245 to a very poor family in what is now Dongwan Village. At age ten, she was sold into marriage. Daopo was very unhappy because her husband and in-laws mistreated her, so she ran away. She followed the Huangpu River and eventually ended up in the ancient city of Yazhou, known today as Sanya. For decades, she lived there with the local Li people who taught her their advanced methods of spinning and weaving.

 

Many years later, Daopo returned to the village of her birth where she taught her people what she had learned and introduced them to new technology including treadle-powered looms. Her teachings spread throughout the country and revolutionized weaving in China. To this day, Daopo is considered one of the most famous women in Chinese textiles. There is even a television series based upon her life: A Weaver on the Horizon

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