Chinese silk hand embroidery art from Suzhou

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Chinese Suzhou Embroidery in Tang Dynasty

Chinese Suzhou embroidery in Tang Dynasty

The Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) could be characterized as the golden age of China. During the Tang era, the economy prospered; traders and travelers came from as far as India, Arabia, Japan and Southeast Asia to work and live in the capitol, Chang'an, which was considered the center of the world by the Chinese. 

Tang rulers were also tolerant of foreigners as Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and other religious groups coexisted in harmony. Religious pilgrimage was also encouraged as countless tales and stories were written about monks traveling along the famous Silk Route bringing back invaluable Buddhist scriptures to China. Under Tang rule, culture and the arts flourished. Painting style was elegant, reflecting the general prosperity of the golden age of Chinese feudal society. 

Since the Three Kingdoms period (A.D. 222-A.D. 280) Suzhou was involved in the export trade along the Silk Road, with Chinese silk eventually traded as far as Japan, Persia, Greece and Rome. Two routes were utilized, one leading by land through Central Asia, the other based on naval routes to Southeast Asia, then to ports of the Indian Ocean, Red Sea or Persian gulf. Silk weaving skills were highly developed by the Tang Dynasty. 

Silk from Tang Dynasty is not only colorful and lustrous, but also very rich and beautiful in pattern. Suzhou Silk embroidery at Tang Dynasty has a wide range of themes including birds, beasts, flowers, and trees etc. Phoenix, peacock, parrot, mandarin duck and hoopoe were often used in embroidering, printing and dyeing. Sometimes the birds were mixed with bees, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, insects. Beasts such as lions, unicorns, tigers, leopards, deer, camel were mainly used in the subject patterns of heavily colored brocade. Among flowers and trees, peony was most favorite subject while twining branches, crossing branches and a bunch of flowers were used together.


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