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ART & LEISURE: The Art of Chinese Embroidery
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The Art of Chinese Embroidery
By Rose Salas

BT 201801 Art 05 suxiu      在如今的奢侈品和高定市场中,人们常常会看到“刺绣”或 “手工刺绣”这样的字眼,以显示其成衣的制作难度和精美程度。刺绣作为一种时尚元素,近几年在各大品牌以及定制成衣中大行其道,足见其魅力和美感。但你是否知道,刺绣其实是源于中国的一种非常古老的纺织艺术,它有着悠久的历史以及多种多样的流派风格,是中国文化不可分割的一部分,根植在中华儿女的血脉之中。

      中国刺绣的起源,历史久远,据考古出土遗物显示,商周时期已有刺绣。早期的刺绣简单粗糙,刺绣的艺术之美是从汉代开始显露。此后唐代人民在绣法上的推陈出新,创造了平针绣。宋代是我国刺绣发达臻至高峰的时期,堪称绝后。明清成为我国历史上刺绣流行风气最盛的时期——材料改进精良,技巧娴熟洗练,而且趋向迥异宋代的繁缛华丽的风尚;艺术绣作在承袭宋绣优秀传统下,不断推陈出新。

      另外值得一提的是,地方性绣派在清代如雨后春笋般兴起,著名的有苏绣、粤绣、蜀绣、湘绣、京绣、鲁绣等,各自树立自我特色,形成争奇斗妍的局面。蜀绣也称川绣,即以四川成都为中心的刺绣品总称。蜀绣具有悠久的历史,当时的生产品种主要是官服、礼品、日用花衣、边 花、嫁奁、彩帐和条屏等,其绣刺技法甚为独特,如五彩缤纷的衣锦纹满绣 、绣画合一的线条绣、精巧细腻的双面绣和晕针、纱针、点针、复盖针等都是十分独特而精湛的技法。苏绣工艺是以绣针引彩线,在丝绸、棉布等面料上刺缀运针,通过绣迹构成花样、图案、文字以取得艺术效果。著名的苏绣手工艺品多次被国家领导人作为国家级礼品送给外宾。湘绣起源于湖南民间刺绣,具有精湛的技艺和独特的艺术风格。湘绣是以硬缎、交织软缎、透明玻璃纱、尼纶等为原料绣制的精细工艺品,日用绣品主要有条屏、画片、被面、枕套、床罩、靠垫、桌布、手帕及各种绣衣等。粤绣在广东地区主产,它用线多样,用色明快,讲求华丽效果,常用百鸟朝凤、海产鱼虾、佛手瓜果一类有地方特色的题材。

      现如今,刺绣已经不是一种繁复和太过贵重的手工艺产品,在很多快时尚品牌中我们都能看到刺绣元素。作为一种古老的文化,刺绣这门艺术已经融入现代人的生活中,相信未来刺绣将在人们的生活中有着更广泛的用途,并与时代结合,发扬光大。

BT 201801 Art 01Are you a lover of intricate woven ornamental designs in threads of silk, cotton or any other material? Well, the sophistication found in each sample of this craft is incredibly remarkable. Big credits to the art of embroidery! The long history of Chinese embroidery gave the world an influence of unique and elegant designs found in almost everything we have at home. It is not surprising that this wonderful art can be seen even in commercial areas, low to high-rise elegant buildings, workplaces and business spaces up to this day.
 

Since the best quality of silk is found and produced in China, the finest embroideries are made using this yarn. Best of all, it is handmade. The flawless and ornate details of this work made the trading business thrive and prosper. Back in history, different styles were created and schools had been founded to demonstrate the major designs as part of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage. They were defined as follows:


Shu embroidery – Having originated in the city of Chengdu, Panda bear is the popular motif in this style which is stitched on soft, satin fabric and makes use of brightly coloured threads. Its products include quilt covers, pillow cases, table cloths, chair cushions, scarves and handkerchiefs.

BT 201801 Art 03 shuxiuXiang embroidery - Associated with Hunan province, it looks similar to other art forms such as painting, engraving and calligraphy. It specializes in a satin look with very soft, smooth surfaces. Sample motifs are life-like designs of humans, birds, animals, and landscapes. This is the most priced embroidery and has won international awards.

BT 201801 Art 04 xiangxiuSu embroidery - Its roots being in Jiangsu province, this form of embroidery was influenced by Japanese and Western art. Because of its refined, elegant and exquisite over-all design, it became eminent popular option for producing meticulously crafted patterns. It has been used for royal clothing and wall decorations during the Qing dynasty.

BT 201801 Art 06 suxiuYue embroidery – Also known as the Cantonese embroidery, it originated in Guangdong. It is mostly done in cotton rather than silk, dragons and phoenix being its typical motif. Symmetrical patterns and vibrant colours compose this style.

BT 201801 Art 07 suxiuThese types of embroideries show how meticulous the work is when done using hands. Techniques are followed using proper stitching methods to produce a perfect piece. The time and effort invested in embroidery makes it clear why these handicraft items are so expensive and extraordinary.
 

As mentioned, embroidered items are found in almost every part of a typical home. Years ago, only wealthy merchants and affluent people could afford these precious handicrafts. At present, almost everyone owns things that bear embroidery designs - clothing, scarves, bags, shoes, jewellery boxes, home decors, pillows, table top displays, mats, curtains, and many more. During festive holidays, isn’t it lovely to see tablecloths, pillow covers, and Christmas ornaments in unique styles? Themes and decors with embroideries are also present in special occasions like weddings, anniversaries and galas.

chinese yue embroideryEmbroidery has remained a staple of fashion industry up to this day. The demand has remained increasingly noteworthy for years. Later on, embroidery machines were invented to produce larger volumes and to decrease time of production to accommodate business markets. Nowadays, embroidered patterns are used for decors and apparels. As a matter of fact, the latest trend in fashion this year makes use of rich patterns in embroidered designs. It has been featured in high-fashion runways by top brands and designers in the UK and the US, some of which are Gucci, Dior and Zara. And who will not be amazed by classy wedding gowns that have elegant embroidered designs mixed with other materials like pearls, sequins beads and quills?
 

The success of embroidery is so evident and phenomenal. Truly, this is one of the most outstanding contributions of China to the world in the history of art!

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