Embroidered Silk, with Butterflies by Oriental School


Embroidered Silk, with Butterflies


Oriental School

Ref GM2788
Type Fine Art Print
Image Size 38" x 46" (96 x 117 cm)
Price Add to basket
The earliest examples of Chinese embroidery stem from the Zhou (BC 1027-221) Dynasty. This might well represent the origin of embroidery, early examples of which have also been discovered in ancient Egypt and northern Europe, though there is no conclusive proof of exactly where embroidery originated – if, indeed, it did not originate in several places at roughly the same time. Ancient Chinese embroidery was crafted using silk, since the Chinese had already learned how to spin silk thread from silkworms. Curiously, Chinese embroidery was originally the domain of males; it was only later that Chinese men later realized that the delicate hands of their women was better suited to the task. The earliest extant example of Chinese silk embroidery is a ritual garment recovered from a 4th century BC burial tomb at Mashan, in present-day Hubei Province, and which stems from the early Taoist era (i.e., predating Buddhism in China), though judging from the designs on the garment, the religion in question could well have been pre-Taoist, since Taoism, which emerged from the "primordial soup" of religious-superstitious belief that existed in pre-Imperial China – and to which the Yin and the Yang belong –spread only slowly throughout China. The art of embroidery had become widespread throughout China by the time of the Han (BC 206 – CD 220) Dynasty. Four distinctive styles, or schools, of embroidery emerged in China at that time, though each of them would quite naturally reach its respective pinnacle during a much later period, especially after the blossoming of Silk Road trade with India, the Middle East and Europe had created a market for Chinese embroidery, a market where the demand for ever more intricate embroidery in ever richer patterns would be met by Chinese artisans. The four schools of Chinese embroidery are all collectively and individually, now designated by the government of the PRC as a Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage. The four schools are: Shu embroidery, from the Kingdom of Shu (CE 221-263), Xiang embroidery, associated with the silk artisans of the present-day Hunan Province, Su embroidery which is linked to present-day Jiangsu Province and Yue embroidery which is linked to present-day Guangdong Province.