Nanjing Velvet Flower is Nanjing’s typical and traditional handicraft with distinctly local characteristic. It enjoys a long-standing history and has the meaning of “Glory and Splendor” as its partial tone. It’s said that Nanjing Velvet Flower was rated as a royal tribute in the era of Empress Wu Zetian in Tang Dynasty. Instead of being produced by the machine, only can the velvet flower be manually manufactured due to its special technique.
Velvet flowers were in full flush in Kangxi and Qianlong periods. In the modelling side, it can match in beauty mutually with the real flowers but it never fail down. In the partial tone side, the velvet flower means “Glory and Splendor” which alludes the auspicious blessings. Therefore, not only did the velvet flowers win the affection of the concubines of imperial harem, but also has the large-scale “Flower Fair Street” for sales in the folk. So it is a traditional convention to use the velvet flower as ornaments.
The colors of Nanjing velvet flower mainly focus on red and pink, which are supplemented by green in the center with yellow embellished, so as to make it lively and splendid. Approximately ten processes are needed when manufacturing the velvet flowers. According to Zhao Shuxian, the inheritor of intangible cultural heritage of velvet flower production technique, It takes him 2-3 days to manufacture a velvet flower with the diameter of about 10 cm, which excluded the early preparations for selecting and purchasing the cocoon fiber, that proved the manufacture process of velvet flower is very complex.
Nanjing Velvet Flower was listed as the provincial intangible cultural heritage in 2006.