How Did Suzhou Embroidery Formed Its Unique Features

The earliest writing on the features of Suzhou embroidery found in the Chronicles of Suzhou described Suzhou embroidery as ‘exquisite, fine, elegant and pure. This description was made about 700 years ago in Ming Dynasty.

The features of Suzhou embroidery were closely related to the local geographical conditions and the people’s lifestyle. Suzhou was located near Taihu Lake, which abounded in mulberry trees for feeding silkworms. Outside the city were green hills and clear water, while inside were picturesque gardens, long and narrow lanes, and houses standing by the small rivers with arched stone bridges under which still water ran. The atmosphere of Suzhou contributed to the mild temperament of the local people and their habit of living in peace and thinking in silence. The Pingtan performed with superb skills, Kunqu performed exquisitely with graceful dancing to the accompaniment of bamboo-and-string instruments, the elegant, beautiful, bright and fresh paintings done by local painters, and the artistic characteristics displayed in calligraphy and painting all provided inspiration for Suzhou embroidery.
The needles used by the Suzhou embroidery artists were the same as the brushes used by the painters. The attentiveness, patience, and gentleness of the people in Suzhou were all reflected in the embroidery they made.
suzhou embroidery
Suzhou Garden, silk embroidery, all hand embroidered with fine silk threads on silk
suzhou kunqu
Suzhou Kunqu, the oldes form of Chinese opera
suzhou pingtan
Suzhou Pingtan, behind the two performers are a Suzhou double sided embroidery, silk embroidery floor screen
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