A pankou being made for the qipao. [Photo/WeChat account: zsqdly]
Pankou is the Chinese name for the traditional knotted buttons, or frog buttons, used on the qipao. They are also often called frog fasteners.
Traditionally, they feature various animal and floral designs and are made of silk or satin wrapped around a stiffening material such as copper to help hold its shape.
A pair of pankou knots featuring the shapes of a butterfly and a flower. [Photo/WeChat account: zsqdly]
The function of the pankou has through the centuries evolved from being a fastener to serving as an ornament.
The production of pankou in Putuo district, Zhoushan has a history of nearly 100 years and in 2019, the skill was listed as an intangible cultural heritage item in the district.
A pair of pankou knots featuring the pantern of Chinese charater "盘 (pan)". [Photo/WeChat account: zsqdly]
Rong Fenglei is the inheritor of Putuo pankou making skill. In recent years, Rong has made innovations by adding calligraphy, seal cutting and other artforms into the production process.
Rong is recognized as a master of arts and crafts of Zhoushan and is also the vice-chairman of the Putuo Folk Literature and Art Association.