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Incredible Xinjiang | The time-honoured beautiful Atlas silk

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Incredible Xinjiang | The time-honoured beautiful Atlas silk

June 17
16:52 2021

An Atlas silk mill in Jiya Town of Hotan City, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. (Xinhuanet, Li Mengting)

The handcraft of making Atlas silk is known as “The only remaining silk handcraft of the 21st century.” Famous for its rich and bright colors and distinctive changing zigzag pattern, Atlas silk has been used by Uygur women for clothing and interior design for centuries. In 2008 the handcraft of dyeing and weaving Atlas silk became a national intangible culture heritage.

Atlas silk for sale. (Xinhuanet, Li Mengting)

65 years old Nurmemet Ahmat, a skilled Atlas silk maker, is weaving on a wood loom. Shuttle flying between his hands and pedal working under his feet, a beautiful Atlas silk is born because of his hard work weaving.  

Nurmemet Ahmat is weaving on a wood loom.  (Xinhuanet, Li Mengting)

Beautiful Atlas silk is made by the ancient loom.   (Xinhuanet, Li Mengting)

It will take Nurmemet Ahmat one and a half or two days to weave a piece of 7 meters long, 48 cent-meters wide Atlas silk. And it is only one of the complex procedures in its production. Reeling silk, spinning thread, dyeing… all by hand, the laborious and time consuming processes of making the silk explains why it prices high. 

Tourists choose to buy the Atlas silk goods. (Xinhuanet, Li Mengting)

Hats, hairbands designed with Atlas silk pattern. (Xinhuanet, Li Mengting)

Nowadays, the mechanization of looms has accelerated the production of Atlas silk. One weaving machine can weave three to four Atlas silk product a day. Although it is not as delicate and vivid as the handmade silk, but it is also loved by ordinary consumers for its cheaper price. 

A model displays a modern dress designed with Atlas silk. (Xinhuanet, Li Mengting) 

Fashion designers have also started using Atlas silk in their creations, creatively mixing the traditional art and modern fashion to make hats, clothes, and all kinds of art works. Atlas silk is becoming a “name card” of Xinjiang, and proudly brought to the catwalk. 

Media Contact
Company Name: Xinhuanet co.,ltd.
Contact Person: Best Niu
Email: Send Email
State: Xinjiang
Country: China