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China's Handmade Embroidery - Embroidered Silk Visual Art
China has always been famous for its silk and its handmade silk embroidery. For millennia, the renowned "Silk Road" brought Chinese silk and embroidery to Central Asia, Western Asia, Europe and Africa. The silk trade created exchanges between China, India, Greece and Rome and acted as a link between these four ancient civilizations.
Since the earliest fabric samples of 3000 B.C. People in China realise that human beings have wanted to enliven their surroundings clothing, toiletries and linens by adding hand work of some kind over the woven fabrics.
Different areas of the devised their own peculiar styles. The type of thread, colors, motifs and presentation of each area and style are unique. Each region had a few stitches unique to their style. The motifs were related to nature and religion and everyday life of people.
Religious embroideries spanned the breadth of the age of the many religious organizations and royal courts. Handmade Embroidery art had patrons just like other art forms. These embroideries include gold threads or zardosi, chikankari, kasuti and kashmiri.
Chikankari is said to have a Turkish impression though it is mentioned in the records of Megasthenes in 3rd century B.C. Kashmiri embroidery is colorful with symbols like chinar leaf, apple blossom, lily, the saffron flower and the fauna of the region. Phulkari has brightly colored flowers on coarse cotton. Beadwork and Zardosi are Mughal introductions where as mirror work is typical to Gujarat and Rajasthan. Kantha' Embroidery of Bengal makes imaginative use of waste rugs and Kasuti is famous for religious themes.
- Styles of Chinese Silk Embroidery Art
There are several different levels of Chinese embroidered silk visual art:
• Antique (all handmade obviously)
• High quality, classical handmade
• Ordinary quality handmade
• Machine made
As corresponding, Suzhou embroidery (Su embroidery for short), Hunan embroidery (Xiang embroidery for short), Sichuan embroidery (Shu embroidery for short) and Guangdong embroidery (Yue embroidery for short) are the four most famous styles of embroidery in China.
The city of Suhou is the center of the Chinese handmade embroidered silk visual art. From there the silk industry spreads west to other cities including Suzhou and it extends to Shanghai, Wuxi, etc. and now includes Beijing, Guangxi, Guangdong. Shenzhen, Zhejiang, Shanxi, Shandong, Hubei, Anhui and other places.
Merits of Chinese Handmade Embroidery
Handmade classical silk embroidery is alive. The high quality work looks lifelike. It's been created with loving care by an individual artist. These people are masters of their trade.
They have incredible skill and their work is stunningly beautiful. But it looks alive. The machine made versions look stiff and unnatural. It's quite easily distinguishable.
Handmade embroidery is done with pure silk thread. It has an exquisite, glossy feel to it. Real silk thread will break when used in a sewing machine. So the thread that is used in a machine is thicker and has an artificial fiber feel to it because it is a mix. It is not pure silk.
Chinese handmade silk embroidery is highly collectible. There are many collectors in Germany, the rest of Europe, the USA, Japan, Africa and in other countries, usually the affluent art aficionados all over the world. The embroidered silk is truly representative of Chinese art.
Authentic antique silk embroidered visual art sells for anywhere between $35,000 and $125,000, and is an excellent investment as their prices continue to rise. Over the long term (hundreds of years) the value has increased by as much as 50 times. These pieces are on display in museums and exist in private collections and become available for sale in much the same way any antique art does: dealers, auctions and so on, with the usual problems of verifying authenticity and provenance.
But machine embroidery may have become common these days and perhaps more economical but theuniqueness, variety, intricacy, art and fineness of hand embroidery is unmatched and as yet unchallenged. Today you can also buy modern, hand embroidered silk of the type that is being produced. This varies greatly in quality. At one extreme there is ordinary handmade silk embroidery which you can buy for as little as $100 for a piece. Then there is high quality, classical embroidered silk being produced at higher prices. These pieces tend to sell at auction and therefore the prices can go very high and be somewhat unpredictable.
A Special Kind of Chinese Handmade Embroidery - Chinese Double Sided Embroidery
The double sided embroidery is a technique in which stitching takes place on both sides of a single transparent silk fabric. The design shows on both sides (front and reverse). Such a piece is normally mounted on a wooden frame as a screen, one really can't tell which side is the front or the back.
Most of the double sided embroideries, almost all, people see in shops have the same images on both sides. However there are a few double sided embroideries that have two different images on both sides. It's a mystery and secret how this kind of works are made.
Fine Works of Chinese Handmade Embroidery
People from different countries have different tastes. A silk handmade embroidery popular in one country is not necessarily popular in another country. But there are some silk embroideries that seem almost everyone likes them.
Have you ever seen such a beautiful painting on a piece of silk satin? Just imagine embroidering such a delicate figure with threads and needles! But such exquisite embroidery has been one of China's most famous art forms for many centuries, and four main schools of embroidery have established with their unique techniques.
Picture: The Chinese Art of Painting with Silk Threads
Remark: Clever photographer, Nancy Fox, recently returned from a tour of mainland China. A visit to an embroidery factory in Suzhou was high on her list of places to see. She was not disappointed. When she arrived, the artists were hard at work producing these paintings. They readily consented to let Nancy photograph them while they worked.
* Last, if you interests, you can find all kinds of Chinese silk handmade silk embroidery art for sale on the Internet(http://www.made-in-china.com/products-search/hot-china-products/Handmade_Embroidery.html) like any other modern or old art.
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I'd like to introduce and display an excellent selection of China fine art products and gifts to you, also give you great suggestions about gift ideas and the latest fashion art trends in China.