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wong tsz mei Art Blog

The Silken Embroidery of Antique Collection(part 2)

by tszmei , March 3, 2011—01:24 AM

Topics: ancient igniter, boudoir, consummate skill

This beautiful embroidery is in possession of both the graceful and gorgeous decorative manner which could be applied to the attire of every description,namely clothing,hats,shoes,and even some daily gadgets. From the picture we can see a sheath which was made to hold the items needed to make a fire in the days before the invention of matches.To light a fire,the stone would be wrapped around the fabric and rubbed against the sickle until sparks came off to start an ignition.The satin sheath,finely embroidered with scrolling lotuses in bright colours,was made in the Guangxi period(1875-1908) of Qing dynasty. The well thought-out d__cor was worked out to the fine detail in this small gadget.The curvy contour of the golden buckle echoes with the undulated floral pattern of the sheath;the ingenuity being shown in the meticulous design in low relief of the buckle reflects the taste for luxury even in a igniter.When its practicality was replaced by modern invention, it turned into a valuable antique.

In another domain of arts and crafts,the uncanny ability of the dexterous hands could handle the needle as brush,the colorful thread as visual elements to ___draw___ a painting,expressing the fine brushwork of delicacy,or the freehand brushwork to catch the essential likeness.This expressive measure first appeared in Tang dynasty(618-907),but it was mainly used to embroider calligraphy,only occasionally for drawing; and was still mainly used for the d__cor of clothing. Until Song dynasty (960-1127),using embroidery as a means to convey the distintion of brushwork gradually had gained popularity and became very flourish.Of these fine Song embroideries,the needle being used was as thin as hair,the filament as dainty as silk;as for the coloring,they were exquisite and glittering.If the embroidering craftmanship was used to depicting landscape,the scenery displayed a long-ranged view, and all the pavilions and towers manifested their third object dimensions;the figures in the landscape were so vivid that they seemed to be gazing at the distant view. Regarding the embroideries of flower and bird painting, the flowers were graceful and attractive while the chirpy birds seemed to be perching on the branches. The fine works among those traditional embroidered paintings ,their qualities are even better than that of the real paintings!

After Song dynasty,the most famous embroideries were named ___Gu embroidery___which was initiated in Ming dynasty(1368-1644)by the womenfolk of an official family in which the surname of the official was ___Gu___, and this gorgeous handiwork by the ingenious harem gradually developed into commercial bussiness. Owing to the consummate skill from the boudoir of ___Gu___, ___Gu embroidery___ was known far and wide,and in great demand.Then at the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in the late period, the shops selling embroideries in some prosperous cities of China,namely Suzhou and Shanghai,would named their shops as ___Gu Embroidery___ or ___Embroidery of Gu Household___. Reverting to the Gu family in Ming dynasty,they had became nouveau pauvre later and had to tackle with their financial problem. Fortunately, their living expenses could rely on the skilled handiwork of the harem.Perhaps it was an unexpected outcome to the family as needlework at that time was for the womenfolk to kill time and the handmade products only for the need of a family.



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