Connections Between Suzhou Su Embroidery and Shanghai Gu Embroidery

Both Gu embroidery and Su embroidery were born in the Wu region (Suzhou city now) of Jiangsu province. They used the same materials, and employed the same skills and stitches. They had a wide range of subjects, from flowers and birds to figures and landscapes, all based on the famous paintings in the Song and Yuan dynasties. They used varied stitches, but mainly the traditional long-and-short stitch and the overlap stitch of Suzhou embroidery. The needlework was superb and the colors blended well. Both forms were descendants of the painted embroidery of the Song Dynasty. The difference was that the underlying design concepts for Suzhou embroidery were mostly well-composed and beautiful paintings, the embroidered faces were symmetrical and lifelike, the colors blended as a result of the stitches used, and the woolen base fabric was soft.

The Gu embroidery combines painting and embroidery, using painting to supplement the stitching. It uses many intermediate colors and has the effect of a painting. The embroidered calligraphy showed characters neatly written with vigorous strokes. Han Ximeng’s achievements in her painted embroidery had a considerable influence on Suzhou embroidery. Therefore, it is generally believed that as far as the embroidery skills are concerned, Gu embroidery is derived from Suzhou embroidery.


gu embroidery

gu embroidery

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