The origin of Chinese embroidery

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The origin of Chinese embroidery

Embroidery originated very early. The article on the embroidery of Fu Yu can be seen in Shangshu. In the time of Yu Shun, embroidery was already in use. In the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, there was an official in charge of it, and in the Han Dynasty, there was Royal embroidery. In the first year of Yongzhen of Tang Dynasty (805 AD), Lu Meiniang embroidered seven volumes of Buddhist scriptures on Chi silk. She is famous for her embroidery and can be seen in the description of the former. Since the Han Dynasty, embroidery has gradually become a unique art in boudoir, and famous embroiderers also occupy a place in the history of fine arts.

In primitive society, people decorated themselves with tattoos and tattoos. Since the emergence of linen, woollen fabrics, silk fabrics and clothes, people began to embroider totems and other patterns on clothes. According to the records of Shangshu, as early as 4000 years ago, the ZhangFu system stipulated that "clothes should be painted while clothes should be embroidered". In the literature of the pre Qin Dynasty, there are records of using cinnabar to dye silk thread and embroidering vermilion patterns on plain white clothes, and the so-called "Su Yi Zhu Xiu", "Gong Yi Xiu Shang" and "Fu Yi Xiu Shang". At that time, there were both embroidery and painting, but also embroidery patterns before filling color.

These embroideries are very strict in the pattern structure, with clear geometric layout, a large number of flowers and grass patterns, bird patterns, dragon patterns, animal patterns, and romantically combine the images of animals and plants. In terms of technique, the realistic and abstract are used together, interspersed and folded, and the embroidery image is slender and clear, leaving more blank, which reflects the important characteristics of embroidery patterns in the spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period.

At present, the earliest embroidery handed down is two pieces of embroidery unearthed from Chu tomb in Changsha, Hunan Province during the Warring States period. In view of its needling technique, it is completely embroidered on silk and Luo with braid stitch (i.e. lock embroidery). The stitches are neat, the color is elegant and the lines are smooth. The patterns of dragon, Phoenix, tiger and auspicious beast are natural, vivid, lively and powerful, which fully shows the achievements of Chu embroidery art. Embroidery of Han Dynasty has been unearthed in Qianfo cave in Dunhuang, wuluchong tomb in Hebei Province, northern Inner Mongolia and North Astana tomb in Turpan, Xinjiang. In particular, a large number of complete and various embroidery works unearthed in Mawangdui, Changsha in 1972 are helpful to understand the embroidery style of Han Dynasty. From these embroideries, the motifs of Han embroidery patterns are mostly wavy cloud patterns, flying birds and animals, as well as ribbon patterns and geometric patterns commonly seen in Han mirror patterns. The new base materials used in embroidery were the popular fabrics at that time, such as silk brocade silk with auspicious characters such as "prolonging life, benefiting offspring" and "Changle Guangming". Its technique is mainly lock embroidery, which fills the pattern, makes the composition close, the stitching is neat and the lines are very smooth.

Silk fabrics from the Eastern Jin Dynasty to the Northern Dynasty were unearthed in Dunhuang, Gansu Province, Hotan, Bachu, Turpan and other places in Xinjiang. No matter the pattern or the blank, the whole piece was embroidered with fine lock embroidery, which became the characteristic of embroidery all over the place. The Tang Dynasty embroidery handed down and unearthed is closely related to the religious art of the Tang Dynasty. Among them, there are many Tang embroidered Buddha statues, such as the embroidered tent found in the thousand Buddha cave of Dunhuang in the British Museum, the Sakyamuni Sutra of lingjiu mountain, and the Sakyamuni Sutra map of Nara National Museum in Japan, all of which are directly related to his belief in the prosperity of Buddha. At this time, the embroidery technique still followed the lock embroidery of the Han Dynasty, but the needling technique has begun to change, mainly using plain embroidery, and using a variety of different needling techniques, a variety of color lines. The embroidery materials used are not limited to brocade and plain silk. The patterns used in embroidery are closely related to painting. In Tang Dynasty, besides Buddha figures, landscape flowers and birds also flourished. As a result, Buddha figures, mountains and rivers, pavilions, flowers and birds have also become embroidery patterns, with lively composition and bright colors. The use of fine plain embroidery, the use of various color lines and needle techniques, instead of paint description of painting, formed a special art, is also a unique style of Tang embroidery. As for the use of gold and silver thread to coil the outline of the pattern and strengthen the three-dimensional sense of objects, it can be seen as an innovation of embroidery in Tang Dynasty.

Embroidery before the Tang Dynasty was mostly for practical and decorative purposes. The content of embroidery was related to the needs and customs of life. Besides being practical, the works of embroidery in Song Dynasty were devoted to embroidery. Since the Jin and Tang Dynasties, literati and literati loved calligraphy and painting. Calligraphy and painting were the highest artistic expression at that time, and even silk embroidery in Song Dynasty. The style of calligraphy and painting directly affected the style of embroidery. There should be an inseparable relationship between embroidery and painting from the past dynasties to the Qing Dynasty.

The prosperity of embroidery in Song Dynasty was due to the government's encouragement and promotion at that time. In order to achieve the vivid artistic conception of calligraphy and painting, it is necessary to have a plan before embroidery, and to measure the situation when embroidering, so that it tends to be exquisite. The composition must be simplified, and the choice of patterns is very important. It is quite different from the practice of embroidery in the Tang Dynasty with or without patterns. According to the secret record of junqingxuan written by Dong Qichang in the Ming Dynasty, "the embroidery of the Song Dynasty is characterized by fine stitches, one or two threads with velvet, and the other with fine needles like fine hair, which are beautifully colored and colorful. Mountains and rivers are divided into distant and near interests, pavilions are deep, characters are vivid, and flowers and birds are full of slander. The best one is better than the painting. I hope the three tastes are well prepared. Ten fingers of spring wind cover this place. " This section describes the characteristics of embroidery in Song Dynasty.

In the Yuan Dynasty, there are few embroidery works handed down. There is only one work in the Imperial Palace Museum in Taiwan. Judging from the works, it still inherits the legacy of the Song Dynasty. In Yuan Dynasty, the velvet was a little thick and the needle was not dense, so it was not as exquisite as that of song embroidery. The rulers of the Yuan Dynasty believed in Lamaism. In addition to adorning general costumes, embroidery also had a strong religious color. It was used to make Buddhist statues, sutras, banners, and monk hats. It was represented by the embroidered Vajra statue of the Yuan Dynasty preserved in the Potala Palace in Tibet, with a strong decorative style. The embroidery unearthed from Li Yu'an Tomb of the Yuan Dynasty in Shandong Province, in addition to various needling techniques, also found the method of tapestry. It is embroidered with plum blossom on a skirt. The petals are embroidered with silk and embroidered, which is full of three-dimensional feeling.

Embroidery in the Ming Dynasty began in the Luxiang garden of Gu family in Shanghai during the Jiajing period. Gu Shouqian, the second grandson of Gu Mingshi, and his wife, Han Ximeng, have a deep understanding of the six methods, and have a long history of hair embroidery in the Tang and Song dynasties. It imitates and Embroiders ancient and modern celebrities' paintings and calligraphy. It splits silk and matches colors. It has a unique secret. It can be dyed in writing. The embroidered mountains, rivers, flowers and birds are all exquisite. It is known as Gu's Embroidery in Luxiang garden, which covers the so-called painting embroidery. This is the famous Gu embroidery.

Gu embroidery technique mainly inherited the most complete embroidery method of Song Dynasty, and used it with changes, which can be said to be a great success of the collection of needling techniques. Most of the threads are flat and sometimes twisted. The silk is as fine as hair and the stitches are flat. The variety of colored threads used is incomparable to that of song embroidery. At the same time, it also uses middle color line, borrowing color and complementary color, embroidery and painting, and strives to be realistic to the original. According to the needs of the pattern, you can take materials at will, regardless of the method. Real grass, Siamese cockfighting tail hair, thin gold and hair can be embroidered with innovative ideas. In particular, the use of hair embroidery to finish painting has never been seen in the history of dyeing and weaving in the world. That is to say, Gu embroidery has extremely ingenious and subtle embroidery techniques.

Embroidery in the Qing Dynasty was mostly used by the royal court. Most of the embroidery was drawn by the painters of Ruyi Museum, the office of the imperial palace. After approval, the embroidery was sent to the three weaving and embroidery workshops under the jurisdiction of Jiangnan weaving. The embroidery was very neat and exquisite. In addition to royal palace embroidery, there are many local embroidery in the folk, such as Lu embroidery, Yue embroidery, Xiang embroidery, Beijing embroidery, Suzhou embroidery, Shu embroidery, etc. Su, Shu, Yue, Xiang four local embroidery, later known as the "four famous embroidery", of which Su embroidery is the most famous. In the heyday of Suzhou embroidery, schools proliferated and famous artists competed for show. Embroidery was widely used in daily life, resulting in a variety of changes in embroidery needle techniques, embroidery work was more refined, and embroidery thread color matching was more ingenious. Most of the designs are festive, longevity and auspicious, especially flower and bird embroidery, which are loved by people, and famous embroideries come out one after another, such as Ding Pei and Shen Shou.

At the end of Qing Dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China, Western learning spread to the East, and innovative works appeared in Suzhou embroidery. During the reign of Guangxu, Yu Jue's wife, Shen Yunzhi, was famous for her exquisite embroidery skills. When Shen was 30 years old, on the 70th birthday of Empress Dowager Cixi, she embroidered eight pictures of eight immortals celebrating her birthday. She was given the words "Fu" and "Shou", so she changed her name to Shen Shou. Shen embroidery uses new ideas and old methods to show light and color, and uses realism to show the characteristics of Western painting Xiao Shen simulation in embroidery. It creates "imitation embroidery", or "art embroidery", with changeable needling techniques and rich three-dimensional feeling.

It is difficult to preserve embroidery. Because of this, the value of ancient embroidery far exceeds that of other collections. Most of the embroidery in Qing Dynasty has lost color, changed color, or began to rot. the existing well preserved embroidery is the Gansu folk collection "fulushou". Most of the Qing Dynasty embroidery on the market changes color, the embroidery is thick and the composition is simple. However, the "fulushou" (260cm long and 110cm wide) has been well preserved with bright colors, fine embroidery and lifelike characters This collection was once used in the central hall of the presidential palace of the Republic of China during festivals or birthdays. This kind of embroidery is extremely rare, only this one on the market, its value is far more than ten million, in addition to high collection value, there is a deep cultural heritage, is a precious intangible cultural heritage.

Shen Shou, a modern embroidery artist, not only has excellent embroidery skills, but also classifies and arranges the needling techniques of previous dynasties. He inherits the traditional skills of Gu embroidery and Su embroidery, and uses the expression methods of Western sketch, oil painting and photography to create scattered needles and rotary needles to show the light, shade, virtual and real of objects. The portrait of the Italian emperor embroidered by her was exhibited at the China Arts and crafts fair at the world exposition in Duran, Italy, and won the world's highest honor award for excellence.

In 1911, Shen Shou set up an independent female worker's Training Institute in Tianjin to teach embroidery skills, set up a Training Institute for women's normal schools, and train professional talents. In his later years, Shen Shou wrote "Xueli embroidery manual", summarizing the embroidery techniques of painting embroidery in Tang and Song Dynasties, Gu embroidery in Ming Dynasty and her fine arts embroidery Institute, which made outstanding contributions to Chinese embroidery art.

With the development and innovation of Suzhou embroidery, many new embroideries have been formed today, such as random needle embroidery, bundle embroidery, double-sided embroidery, double-sided color embroidery, delicate embroidery, colorful embroidery, etc. Embroidery was first used for practical use, and gradually became a treasure of art in song, yuan, Guang, calligraphy and painting. Most of the embroidery in the Palace Museum belongs to this category. The earliest is five dynasties, and the most articles are Qing Dynasty. Through the innovation and development of generations, each has its own characteristics and has made great achievements. Almost all the collections of the National Palace Museum in Taiwan are exquisite. The embroidery work is neat, the stitches are fine, and the colors are exquisite. They have the essence of calligraphy. Moreover, they are all mounted into volumes and scrolls, which make the viewers mistakenly think that calligraphy and painting are of high artistic value.

In 1958, an embroidery with dragon and phoenix patterns was unearthed from a Chu tomb in Changsha, China. It was an embroidery of the Warring States period in ancient China more than 2000 years ago. It is one of the earliest embroidery objects in China. In the Han Dynasty, embroidery was more widely used and unearthed objects were more.

Embroidery in the Ming Dynasty has become a kind of art with great expressive force. Suzhou embroidery, Guangdong embroidery, Hunan embroidery and Shu embroidery, which are known as the "four famous embroidery", have been produced successively. Lu Xiang Yuan Gu embroidery in Shanghai was the most famous embroidery at that time. Gu's family has been handed down from generation to generation. Their reputation of being good at embroidery is famous in the north and south of the country, and is appreciated by the imperial court. In the Qing Dynasty, Gu embroidery was not only famous at home and abroad, but also attracted many foreign businessmen to Shanghai to order a large number of Gu embroidery products. For a time, Gu embroidery became the general name of embroidery.

For a long time, embroidery in ancient China did not sell well in the international art market, and the price was flat. It was not until 1993 that people began to collect them in Hong Kong, Singapore and other places. According to the inference of market analysts, it will take collectors 10 years to make embroidery become a new favorite in the international market. In recent two years, at some domestic art auctions, the price of embroidery products has been soaring, which is very attractive to buyers.

Embroidery also enjoys a high reputation abroad. In the eyes of foreigners, embroidery is one of the representatives of Chinese culture and art.

In 2006, Yangzhou embroidery technology was approved by the provincial government as the first provincial intangible cultural heritage project protection list.