China

China

Shu xiu (蜀绣) or Sichuan embroidery originates from the area around Chengdu, in Sichuan Province. It has a centuries-old history. It is based on the use of coloured silk and satin cloth. It is marked by its even stitching and subtle colours. The general closeness of the stitches allows for embroidering intricate details. It is used to decorate pillow cases, shoes, quilt covers, garments, and screens.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses an embroidered scroll painting from China, which dates to the third quarter of the nineteenth century. It is made of silk and embroidered with silk thread, and measures 160 x 43 cm. The embroidery shows a willow tree, kingfishers and swallows.

Suzhou or Su Xiu (苏绣) embroidery is created around the city of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. Embroidery has been carried out in this part of China for many centuries. Embroiderers are known for their use of many embroidery techniques and hundreds of different types of threads.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses a table frontal from China, which dates to the early nineteenth century. It measures 83.2 x 95.3 cm. It is made of silk satin with silk and metal thread embroidery and bast fibre lining.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam houses an early eighteenth century (high) valance (Dutch: lambrekijn), made of yellow silk cloth that was probably made and embroidered in China. The motifs include flowers and butterflies.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses a votive panel from China, which dates to the early fifteenth century. It measures 40 x 18 cm. It is made of silk with silk and metal thread embroidery.

Xiang or Hunan embroidery derives from the lands around the town of Changsha, in Hunan Province. It is characterised by its dark and light colour gradations. By its emphasis on the contrast between light and dark, it provides a three-dimensional effect. It is also marked by its use of empty spaces, in this way recalling Chinese ink and wash paintings.

Yue xiu is also known as Guang xiu (粤绣/广秀) or Cantonese embroidery, and this form of Chinese embroidery derives from Chaozhou, in Guangdong Province. It is characterised by its complicated, but symmetrical patterns, its bright colours, variety of stitches varied stitches. It is at times reminiscent of Western paintings because of its colour combinations and the contrast between light and dark.

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