Learn the History of the Suzhou Embroidery
Posted by ugfanfan on December 22nd, 2014
Suzhou embroidery was originated in Wuxian, Suzhou, Jiangsu province. These areas, located in the lower reach of Yangtze River, have been famous for their high quality silk productions for centuries. So, it's a traditional habit for the women here being good at embroidering. The Superior environment, abundant beautiful brocade, and booming production of silk fabric and thread naturally nourished the burgeoning and flourishing of Suzhou embroidery. In the course of long-term historical development, the local style of Suzhou embroidery has formed, that is the pretty pattern, harmonious colors, the vivid lines, the lively needlework, and the meticulous crafts. It is praised as the "Oriental Pearl".
During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Suzhou has become a thriving center for silk industries and handicrafts. Artists in Wu area, represented by Tang Yin (Bohu) and Shen Zhou, helped the further development of Suzhou embroidery. Embroiders reproduced their paintings using needles. These works were so vivid and elegant as to be called "paintings by needle" or "unmatchable even by the nature." Since then, Suzhou embroidery evolved a style of its own in needlework, color plan and pattern, match in beauty with the art of calligraphy and painting.
During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Suzhou embroidery reached its peak, with the prevalence of various styles and master embroiders. The embroidered products used by the royal family were almost exclusively from Suzhou. Folk embroidery products were even more diverse, including decorations on garments, theater costumes, quilt covers, cushions, shoes, perfume bags and fan bags. They didn't only boast various needlework and elegant colors, but also the joyous patterns of longevity or luck. They were extremely popular among the common people. The "drawing embroidery", a special kind of Suzhou embroidery, which was called as the "boudoir embroidery", is the top-grade product for appreciation.
At the turn of the 20th century, Portrait of the Italian Queen made by Shen Yunzhi, a master in Suzhou embroidery, was sent to Italy as a national gift and invoked a sensation there. In 1915, Shen's Portrait of Jesus won the first prize at the "Panama-Pacific Exhibition" hold in US and was priced at a marked high US$13,000. Another Portrait of an American Actress also received great acclaim when being exhibited in the US. Shen's "realistic embroidery", which opened up a brand-new chapter of Suzhou embroideries, achieved remarkable recognition both home and abroad.
The Suzhou embroidery works have attained the prizes in "Italy Turin World Exposition " (A.D. 1911), " Panama--Pacific Ocean International Fair "(A.D. 1915), " Belgium World Exposition " (A.D. 1930). Embroidery works Cats in the exhibition of London in 1956, which caused a sensation in Britain at that time. Embroidery fine works " Premier Chou Enlai", "Deng Xiaoping" and " Monma Liza", " Playing Xiao to Attract the phoenix ", etc. won many prizes at international and domestic artistic fairs, a lot of embroidery products became the national-level gifts. Embroiders masters gave the performance live in Germany, Japan, Australia, etc. Suzhou embroidery has achieved remarkable recognition both home and abroad.
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