Picture a young Chinese woman in a field, dressed in traditional hemp clothing, as she picks flowers to create makeup for her cheeks. Imagine the same person making a bamboo sofa, cooking soy sauce from scratch and cooking up all sorts of delicious dishes.
It may sound hard to believe, but such a person exists in modern China, and her name is Li Ziqi. On Dec 14, she won Person of the Year in the category of cultural influence awarded by China Newsweek.
With a fan base of more than 21 million people on Sina Weibo and 7 million followers on video-sharing site YouTube, Li has made a name for herself in a series of videos that show off a pre-industrial Chinese way of life in rural Sichuan province.“I want to do my part to let more people know about Chinese culture,” the vlogger told China.org.cn. “Much of the popularity of my videos can be attributed to the attraction of Chinese culture.”
Li seems to be a master of all kinds of skills – cooking, painting, designing and farming. She raises silkworms to sew a quilt for her grandmother and grows plants. Many videos show her picking seasonal ingredients from her own garden and cooking them up with her wood-fired wok. A warm bowl of soup for the winter, a lighter plate of noodles for the summer, Li follows the seasons in her cooking, as China’s traditional 24 solar terms also do, and makes food suitable for the particular climate.
李子柒似乎精通各种技能 —— 厨艺、绘画、设计以及农耕。她亲自养蚕，为祖母做了床被子，还会种植物。很多视频中都能看到她从自家花园里采摘时令食材，再在一口烧柴土灶上做菜。冬日里的一碗热汤，夏日里的一小碗面条，李子柒的厨房也遵循着中国传统二十四节气的季节变化，做出各种时令美食。
“She told the stories of China’s culture and that of China,” the official Sina Weibo account of China Central Television noted. The success of Li Ziqi also comes from her “passion for life, for her home and for her culture”.
Indeed, Li’s simple pleasures amaze people living in the hustle and bustle of big cities. “She leads a life that many dream of, but don’t dare to give up their current life in exchange for,” iFeng.com wrote.
Her handmade lifestyle is a fantasy for many. “In today’s society, many feel stressed,” she told the South China Morning Post. “When they watch my videos at the end of a busy day, I want them to relax and experience something nice, to take away some of their anxiety and stress.”