Archives for posts with tag: silk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

L300xW300mm, China

The composition of the embroidery is based on a scene in the Beijing Opera – Return to Jing Zhou.

The story was set in the 3 Kingdoms Period,

WEI – led by East Han chancellor Cao Cao, adviser Sima Yi
WU – led by Sun Quan, adviser Zhou Yu
SHU – led by Liu Bei, general Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun, adviser Zhu Ge Liang

Sun Quan and Zhou Yu (WU) set up a plan to get Liu Bei (SHU) to hand over his strong hold Jing Zhou.  Sun Quan has a beautiful sister, to lure Liu into the trap, he proposed to Liu Bei for a marriage to his sister, a union of the 2 kingdoms. Liu Bei in return would have to go to WU for the wedding.  This is a proposal Liu Bei cannot lightly turn down for the sake of his kingdom.  Sun Quan however has no real intention of marrying his sister to his enemy, he would wanted to capture Liu Bei and and force him to hand over his kingdom.  Luckily before Liu Bei’s departure, his wizard adviser Zhu Ge Liang see through the trick and handed 3 notes to Zhao Yun and asked him to escort Liu Bei to Wu.  When Liu Bei crossed to Wu he opened the first note, it asked Liu Bei to visit the father in law of Sun Quan.  Impressed by Liu Bei and thinking that a union of the 2 kingdoms is a good idea from Sun Quan, the in law asked for Sun Quan’s mother for her approval for the marriage.  The empress dowager agreed and the marriage went ahead.  Sun Quan found out he has lost his sister, set out to detained Liu Bei in Wu.  Liu Bei opened the second note, it asked for a faked report that Jing Zhou was being attacked by now their common enemy Cao Cao (WEI).  Having a great excuse, Liu Bei together with his newly married wife and his men left Wu for Jing Zhou.  Sun Quan found out and had his general went after them.  Liu Bei then opened his third note, in the note it asked him to leave the defense to his wife.  Now in love with Liu Bei, the princess gave the general a hard time and refused to return to Wu.  When Liu Bei returned to Jing Zhou, Sun Quan’s army was confronted by Liu Bei’s general Zhang Fei and badly defeated.

A common Chinese phrase came from the story, 賠了夫人又摺兵 (not only losing the girl but the battle as well) – something similar to the phrase “throw the helve after the hatchet”.

Click here to see our wood block prints which also depicted the same opera.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAW510xH420mm, China

In the center of the du dou (traditional Chinese under garment) is an embroidery of the Goddess of Child Delivery, the Taoist goddess who is in charge of fertility and child bearing.  The young wives would worship the goddess by offering sweet and fruits in the temple, a “cim” stick would be drawn, a lucky cim would meant the goddess has granted the woman’s wish of having a child, a small jacket would then be put on the child figurine which the goddess is holding.  After the child is born, the mother would return to thank the goddess with a feast of offering.

embroidery

embroidery

W340xL340mm, China

This is fine piece of embroidery on silk.
A corner is trimmed back on this perfect square, a minimal cutting for the costume.
A Du Dou, a traditional undergarment.
The curve is placed on the collar with a string tied around the neck, strings from the two diagonal corners tied around the body.
Chrysanthemum and peony flowers are the theme of the embroidery, symbolizing happiness and  wealth.

Here is a demonstration of how this is worn.
paper mache dolls

embroidery

DIA190mm, China

This embroidery is taken from a traditional Chinese under garment, the du dou, a garment that is made by the mother for the child as an extension of love and blessing.  The design of this embroidery showed the well wishes of the mother, the hope that her child would become a zhuang yuan, the scholar who came first in the official examination.  Since the Siu dynasty, the imperial court has set up a system of examination to find the best scholar to take up an imperial post.  This is perhaps the only way to promote one’s status in a hereditary society.

In the embroidery, there is the zhuang yuan holding a bamboo while stepping on head of the Ao fish.  獨占鰲頭, occupying the head of the so fish alone, is a symbol of being the zhuang yuan for during the ceremony with the emperor the zhuang yuan will be standing on the head of a stone carving of the ao fish.

embroidery

DIA250mm, China

This embroidery was taken from a du dou, a traditional Chinese under garment.  Du dou for men and children are mostly decorated with embroidery, normally by the mother or the lover.  This embroidery is one from the mother to the child, the pattern of the embroidery is filled with object of blessing.

In the middle is a TIGER, representing bravery.
Surrounding the tiger are 6 treasures (from 12 o’clock);

GOURD – charm against evils,
BOOKS – wisdom
FAN – inject life into the dead (one of the treasures of the 8 Immortals)
XIU QIU – love
SCISSOR – charm against evils
RHINOCEROS HORN – victory
PAINTINGS – scholarly

Baby HatDIA170xH100mm, China

This is a butterfly embroidery hat for a new born baby, before a child is born the grannies will prepare a hat for the new comer.  A tiger hat for the boy and a butterfly hat for the girl (there was no ultrasound then, so I suppose they will have to make one of each, just in case).  Butterfly symbolizes beauty, a wish for the family for the young baby girl.

W900xH2200mm, China

This silk embroidery painting is a traditional gift for birthday of a lady of high social status.  In figure in the embroidery is the saint Ma Gu and the phoenix (queen of all birds) going to give her best wishes the Queen Mother of the West (the supreme head of all female saints) for her birthday.  On the tray that she is going to present to the Queen Mother has a few of the magic peaches which are believed to take 3000 years to flower, 3000 to bare fruits and another 3000 years to ripe, a bite of it will make one immortal.  The peach is a symbol of longevity, it was also featured in God of Longevity.

Unfortunately the closest we can get to the magic peach is through pottery, carving and paintings, but if you would like to try the worldly version, it is known as the Saturn Peach (Prunus persica f. compressa), they will not make you immortal but they are super delicious.

Embroidery DIA200mm, China

This embroidery is from a silk du dou, a more elaborated version than the one shown in the previous post – du dou.  The du dou is the traditional undergarment for the Chinese; it was invented by Nu Wa and Fu Xi, the Chinese version of Adam and Eve and this is their version of the fig leave.  The embroidery has a symbolic meaning of fertility; in the center is a baby with a long life locket, under him is is a pomegranate (a fruit of many seeds), over him is a bat (which has the same pronunciation as “blessing”)

CIR650xH650mm, China

The pleated dress is part of the female Miao tribe costume.  The legend of the pleated dress goes like this; once upon a time, there was a handsome Miao hunter, one day he caught a beautiful golden pheasant and he gave it as a gift to the girl he was in love with.  The girl, Ah Beng, looking at the golden pheasant and decided to make herself as beautiful as the bird, so she weaved a cloth added embroidery and made herself a pleated dress.  The neighbors saw how beautiful she looked and soon everyone started dressing with amazing pleated dresses.

W75xH200mm, China

This small piece of silk embroidery (which we have framed) was taken from a children’s underwear (Du Dou).  The Du Dou is an undergarment for cover the chest and tummy, its a rectangular or square piece of cloth to be worn diagonally with the top corner trimmed for the neck.  2 strings affixed to the top corner is tied around the neck while the 2 strings attached to the side corners are tied around the back.  The embroidery patterns for children are of the theme of blessing; tiger is one of them.  Tiger is seen as an animal of strength and power, it has been worship for its protection; it is believed that evils will be frighten away when embroidery that has been wrapped around a child.  The tiger Du Dou is traditionally worn by all the children and babies on Duan Wu (the day of ills).