The Development of Suzhou Embroidery

Suzhou embroidery is the general term for needlework produced in the Jiangsu region, the center of which was Suzhou. It has a history of more than 2,000 years. As early as the Spring and Autun Period more than 3,000 years ago, people in the State of Wu, withits capital established in Suzhou, began to use embroidery to embellish their clothes.

Suzhou embroidery expanded considerably in scope during the Song Dynasty. It was greatly developed on the basis of the Gu embroidery done in the Ming Dynasty. Gu embroidery refers to the pieces done by the Gu family in Shanghai in the Ming Dynasty. Gu Mingshi was a successful candidate in the highest imperial civil service examination in the 38th year of the Jiajing Reign of the Ming Dynasty (1559). His grandson, Gu Shouqian, was a skilled painter. Gu’s wife, Han Ximeng, was good painting flowers, and plants, as well as embroidery, and was regarded as one of the best of the many master embroiderers in the Gu family.
In the late years of the Qing Dynasty and the early years of Republic of China, Shen Shou created the simulation-style embroidery that assimilated the good points of Western and Japanese fine arts and embroidery. In the 1930s, the Zhengze Ladies’ Vocational School in Danyang created the crisscross stitching form of embroidery. And an embroidery research institute was set up in Suzhou in 1957.
Suzhou embroidery
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