Do Not Miss: Chinese Elements: Embroidery

Commonly known as "xiuhua" (embroidering flowers), embroidery is an art craft performed by using needle and colored thread (silk, cloth with soft nap, and thread) to prick and stitch fabrics including silk, satin, nylon, yarn, thin silk, cloth and hemp according to designed patterns, thus forming patterns or characters on the basis of embroidered trace.

This art craft was applied to various costumes early 4000-5000 years ago. An article embroidered with dragon and phoenix patterns made in the Warring States Period was unearthed from the Chu tomb in Changsha. It is the most ancient embroidered article among those being discovered so far and has a history of over 2000 years. According to records in The Book of History, such a rule as "Decoration effects on clothes with embroidery" was prescribed by awarded dress system existing 4000 years ago. In the Qin-Han Period, embroidery and silk were the principal commodities transported on the Silk Road. Moreover, during the long time of feudal empire, embroidered armorial bearings on the gowns worn by the emperor and empress as well as officials of all ranks not only served as decorations, but also symbolized the wearer's status and ranks. Flower clusters embroidered on clothes of distinguished people are also an embodiment of the exquisite embroidery process. 

In the Tang and Song Dynasties, embroidery process was developed from an ordinary technique into an independent art, with which the verves of paintings and handwriting works were represented by bond of colorful threads and superb stitches. There were numerous themes for the reproduction work with embroidery process, such as Chinese paintings of human figures, flowers, birds, pavilions, and landscapes as well as western watercolor, opaque watercolor, and oil paintings. Embroidered articles became a sort of artwork with strong expressive force in the Ming and Qing Dynasties during which the "Four Major Famous Embroideries" (Embroideries of Suzhou, Guangdong, Hunan and Sichuan) came into being one after another. Exquisite embroidered articles made by Chinese embroidery artists have drawn the world's attention and won laurel at the world expo. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, exported embroidery exhibits were praised as "Oriental Pearl" and have been imposing increasing influence on cultural and art exchanges as well as commercial trades all over the world.

chinese element

chinese element embroidery

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