Origin of Embroidery (5)

In addition to the traditional Bianzi Stitch which had been used since the Warring States Period, Tang embroidery also used Pingxiu (satin stitch), Dadianxiu (counted stitch), Yunjianxiu and other stitches. The latter, also known as Tuiyunxiu and Qiangzhenxiu (layered stitch), can display shades of colors in different gradations and make the object brilliant and magnificent, producing strong decorative effect. During this period, Suoxiu Stitch of the Han Dynasty was continued. However, Pingxiu Stitch had become the major method, many other kinds of stitches and various colored threads were used, and the embroidery fabric was not limited to brocade silk and thin-yet-tough silk.

hanfu
part of masterpiece, embroidery Buddha of Tang Dynasty

Patterns of the embroidery have a very close relationship with painting. In the Tang Dynasty, in addition to Buddhist figures, the painting of landscapes, pavilions, towers, flowers and birds had become patterns of embroidery and made the composition more lively and colorful. The use of fine satin stitch, various colored threads and other stitch had made embroidery become a special art which can substitute colored paintings, and this was also a unique style of the Tang embroidery. The contour of the patterns embroidered with golden and sliver threads had strengthened the three-dimensional effect of the object, which can be regarded as an innovation of the Tang embroidery.

Women’s Needlecraft
hanfuAs embroidery is mostly done by women, it is also known as “womne’s needlecraft”. The Ming Dynasty scholar Tu Long once praised in his book Painting Memo: “The women’s needlecraft is very elaborate as the clever fingers are inaccessible.” “Women’s needlecraft” originally meant the process of women’s weaving, sewing and embroidering, and relevant finished products. Embroidery is the most prominent among all kinds of the Chinese women’s needlecraft.

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