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wong tsz mei Art Blog

The Silken Embroidery of Antique Collection(part 3)

by tszmei , March 7, 2011—02:41 AM

Topics: coat for pet dogs, deep-going affection

The dexterous hands of the Chinese women have brought their artistic accomplishments into full play. From metriculous d__cor revealing hierarchical ranks on the gorgeous robes,to daily clothing,personal accessories are all their skillful abilities to execute diverse stitches with needle and thread. These kinds of exquisite stitchery could be sold to pay the cost of living when a family met their financial difficulties. With their hands,women not only had created the material possessions,but the values of the distinguishing characteristic of an unique culture embodied in this beautiful handiwork also attracted many collectors and became a kind of their treasured items.

By doing the needleworks,the vapidity of life in the feudalist society would be added with some vitality and the women could benefit from the process of image-making,for they were constructing the iridescent world with slender needles and tenuous thread,in which everything was so different from the male-dominated society where they were living in.Especially for the maids and court ladies who lived in the palace chambers had little contact with the outside world. Sometimes the stitchwork was not done for the need of people;it was a favour for animals. The illustration showing a piece of green satin embroidered cloth enframed with red satin and many orange strings being sewed on was a coat for pet dog in Qing dynasty. Keeping pet dogs was a pastime taken up with great enthusiasm by court ladies in the late Qing,a trend which may be traced to influence from the west.Dogs appear in many of the extant photographs of domestic life in the Qing palace.The dog__™s coat,of aquamarine satin embroidered with floral design,is very appealing in its soft colours.It must have been worn by one of Cixi__™s dogs.

Empress Dowager Cixi,for most of the 47 years from 1861,when the five-year-old heir succeeded to the throne,to her death in 1908, was the de facto ruler of China. She loved dogs.She often had a dog on her lap or around her feet,and dogs are seen on numbers of photographs and paintings of her.Her dogs would wear silk or satin coats made specially for them,and some had their portraits painted.The eye-catching pet coat being shown in the picture was sewed with scrupulous care by the completely symmetrical fancy embroidery patterns on both sides. The floral needlework is more or less the same of the classical Chinese painting on silk,and therefore it would be equally a brilliant stitched foral pattern on the clothes for ladies.

The elaborative piece of work requires not only the superb skills and ideas,but also time.It is a time- consuming task to combine the multi-colored filaments with fine needle in vivid forms of all kind which are the visible shapes of content. All shapes in the embroidery are semantic;that is, they make statements about kinds of subjects which speak of the circumspect and attentive nature of the femininity.Nowadays,many embroideries and folk handiwork being sold in the tourist gift shops are rough products. Moreover in our modern world, the disposable products are so popular that we discard them when they are useless. Clothings,all kind of devices and daily commodities are just things for use and we do not cherish them. It is also the way we treat interpersonal relationship,for we get used to think of the short-term utilitarianism, the meaningful and long-lasting relationship is not a priority. Therefore the traditional silken embroidery savors of a oblivious deep- going affection and we enjoy the pleasures of the reminiscence which is aroused by appreciating the gorgeous d__cor of silken embroidery.Furthermore, it is a comfort to imagine the gentle and tender hands keep doing the needlework patiently with her heart and soul.(THE END)



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