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Chinese Embroidery

Embroidery, a folk art with a long tradition, has an important position in the history of Chinese arts and crafts. In its long development embroidery has been inseparable from silkworm raising and silk reeling and weaving.

China was the first country in the world to weave silk. Silkworms were domesticated as early as some 5,000 years ago. The production of silk threads and fabrics gave rise to the art of embroidery. In 1958, a piece of silk embroidered with a dragon and phoenix was discovered in a state of Chu tomb of the Warring Sates Period (475-221BC). More than 2,000 years old, it is the earliest piece of Chinese embroidery ever unearthed. Embroidery became widespread during the Han Dynasty (206BC-AD220) and many embroidered pieces discovered date back to that period.

Today, silk embroidery is practiced nearly all over China. The Four Famous Embroideries of China refer to the Xiang embroidery in central China's Hunan Province, Shu embroidery in western China's Sichuan Province, Yue embroidery in southern China's Guangdong Province and Su embroidery in eastern China's Jiangsu Province.

Xiang Embroidery

Xiang embroidery is well known for its time-honored history, excellent craftsmanship and unique style. The earliest piece of Xiang embroidery was unearthed at the No 1 Tomb of Mawangdui, Changsha City of the Han Dynasty (206BC-AD220). The weaving technique was almost the same as the one used in modern times, which demonstrated that embroidery had already existed in the Han Dynasty. In its later development, Xiang Embroidery absorbed the characteristics of traditional Chinese paintings and formed its own unique characteristics. Xiang embroidery experienced its heyday at the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and in the early Republic of China (early 20th century), even surpassing Su embroidery. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Xiang embroidery was further improved and developed to a new level.

Xiang embroidery uses pure silk, hard satin, soft satin and nylon as its material, which is connected with colorful silk threads. Absorbing the spirit of Chinese paintings, the embroidery reaches a high artistic level. Xiang embroidery crafts include valuable works of art, as well as materials for daily use.

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