Traditional Chinese Hndicraft: Chinese Embroidery2016-07-12 13:13:32Share:
Embroidery, also known as xiuhua in Chinese, has a history of at least three thousand years. The earliest embroidery that remains today is unearthed from the Chu tomb of the Warring States period in Changsha, Hunan Province. In the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), different types of embroideries with local features become increasingly mature.
Traditionally, girls in towns and cities learned the skill at their early age, which will give them an advantage when they are going to marry.
Embroidery was first developed by local women to decorate their clothes, pouches and bedclothes. The decorative patterns of embroideries mostly reflect the nature and the love for life.
For example, the sleeve cuff of woman’s dresses is always decorated with the image of auspicious clouds and their skirt hemlines are often decorated with images of flowers and grass. Bellybands of children in the rural areas are embroidered with red trimmings and images of “lotus and child” and “precious long spring” which represent good fortune and the continuity of life.
Boy’s bibs are decorated with images of “two lions with their heads together” and “five bats (meaning good fortune in Chinese) around the Chinese character ‘寿’(longevity)”; while girls’ bibs are embroidered with images of “five butterflies flying around a flower”, “children sitting on the lotus” and “five fish swimming around the lotus”.
With its designs rich in life and full of colors, it has gradually developed into a national art. What's more, China's large production of silk has promoted the development of embroidery and brocade art.
Early embroidery had the design and patterns only on one side, while the reverse side had irregular stitches and threadends. Later the skills of the double side embroidery evolved. Both sides of embroidery can be displayed in the same design and different colors. For example, a peony design would be red ion one side and yellow on the opposite side.
The four most famous types of embroidery in China are from Jiangsu, Hunan, Guangdong and Sichuan Provinces. The most famous styles of brocades are Yunjin from Nanjing, Songjin from Suzhou, amd Shujin from Sichuan. There are other well known styles of brocade made by minority peoples, such as Zhuang people in Guangxi, Dai people in Yunnan, and Li people in Hainan.
The emergence of the computer embroidery machine contributed to the high speed and the great efficiency of today’s embroidery compared with that of traditional hand-made embroidery and it meets the requirements of “multi-level, multi-function, unity and perfection” which surpass hand-made embroidery’s reach.
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