In ancient China the wish for longevity was one of the most central values of life. Chinese calligraphers developed numerous styles to express the character in written form. When inscribed one hundred times in varying calligraphic styles, the word "longevity" shou, becomes the motif known as bai shou "a hundred long lives." The motif is often sent as a gift to elders to wish them long life.
I remarried in 2011 in what my new son-in-law describes as our "golden years." In my family tradition, my mother has always given the bride a white satin apron with baby dolls tied on to it. The bride puts this on at the reception and wears it to signify the hope for children (and for my mother, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren). Having no interest in more babies, I combined this custom with the Chinese one of wishing elders "One Hundred Long Lives."
I created my apron using the 100 calligraphic characters and in a style similar to that of a Chinese Miao 100 Bird Jacket. The apron is dyed red - the color of happiness and good luck in the Chinese culture. The calligraphy was hand drawn using vat dyes, and traditional Chinese decorative elements were used for the closures.
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Last Updated April 6, 2013