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wong tsz mei Art Blog

The Silken Embroidery of Antique Collection(part 1)

by tszmei , February 28, 2011—10:04 PM

Topics: feudal bureaucratic hierarchy, practical and aesthetic…

Antique business has not given much attention to the traditional embroideries or the category of needle works.In past days,such silken embroideries were sold in some second-rate antique shops situated on the Qianmen Street in Beijing.But we should not underestimate the artistic value of this kind of antique,and their archaeological value is also worthy of our attention. In Beijing,besides some traditional needle works being sold in the Qianmen Street,there was also a ___Purse Alley___ selling purses specially behind an embrasured watchtower at Zhengyangmen where in the open space the vendors sold a variety of pockets. These delicate and exquisite embroideries were not woman-specific items which were also vade mecum for men to put small objects in them.

The people__™s purpose of carrying on purses in the past was different from ours as they not only put change and money in these beautiful small bags.The usage of these pockets were manifold. They were capsules for watches, glasses, fans, sachet powder, pull fingers, jewelries, snuff bottles and so forth. The antique line called all these types of sachets as ___the design of live___. Because of their fine embroideried handiworks, during the Qing dynasty(1644-1911),the officials hanged them outside their robes as decorations besides the functional purpose. Some of these compact adornments even were the bestowments by the emperor or the queen dowager as it was usual etiquette of the court to grant these gadgets to the ministers and their family dependants at that time.These sachets were valuable rewards. The configurated sachets were decorated with colorful vivid images of clear effect,such as flowers, figures,scenery,celestial beings which were all constructed with diverse stitches with iridescent filaments and threads with dexterous craftsmanship.After the subversion of the Qing dynasty,the former Beijing residence courtiers sold these bestowments which had been handed down to them from one generation to another to the antique dealers. The dealers just spent a few pennies to buy the adornments and sold them to the foreigners for hundred dollars each,just telling the buyers that these silken embroideries were the royal awards to ministers in former days!

The construct of the silken embroidery is a configuration of a splendid and glittering world where night, ugliness,impropriety do not exit. This world is ignated by the eternal brightness,so that our visions can sweep the mythological wonders delightfully.The magnificent Chinese culture,the noble and superb skills of constructing such pristine images are all embodied in such miraculous embroidery. A stunning visual effects make people sense why Chinese embroideries are famous worldwide and deserved to be called an ancient country of spinning and weaving immediately. From the picture we can see a colorful patch which was sewed on the front of the robe to show the rank of the officials in Qing dynasty.The true-to-life red-crested crane as the.subject matter vividly makes the focal point amid the flourish and prosperity of the decorative patterns. To achieve sequence of priority in such elaborateness needed the commanding skill of an overall arrangement and the highest degree of dexterity.The purpose of making this piece of patch to indicate the status of the wearer was the first importance in the feudal bureaucratic hierarchy.However the d__cor of the official uniform is a product of the combination of practical and aesthetic value.



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