Foreign visitors walk down the winding alleys of Zhenhu Town, Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu province, lined with embroidery workshops, on April 19. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Wednesday morning visitors to Element Suzhou Science & Technology Town were surely perplexed to see an extremely lively convention. The hotel lobby was teeming with a lively group of English speakers from six different countries all currently living in Jiangsu province.
Among the crowds of people was a wizened old man with a wrinkled face and a sparse white beard hosting the greeting conversation. Peter Arthur Stanleigh, often called by his Chinese nickname Lao Tang, was doing what he does best – helping others and getting everyone involved.
The old man from Wuxi, along with his counterparts, was invited to take part in the 11th China Embroidery Art Festival underway in Suzhou New District (SND), a beautiful place west of downtown, bordering Taihu Lake and surrounded by several scenic spots and temples.
Su embroidery, known for its exquisite patterns and elegant style, is a tremendous state-level intangible cultural heritage. The district's western area is the home of this traditional art, as well as the home of the embroidery festival.
"I haven't heard much about Su embroidery but I'm excited to learn new things," said Hatem Soliman, an Egyptian Computer Science PhD student from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, who was expecting to have a great time during his first trip to Suzhou.