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Embroidery
Learn Chinese - History and Culture

    Embroidery
Embroidery
(cì xiù 刺绣), a folk art with a history of more than 3000 years, has an important position in the history of Chinese arts and crafts. On a piece of silk or cloth, people embroider all kinds of beautiful pictures and patterns with threads of silk, wool or cotton. Among various kinds of embroidery, the best products come from four provinces: Jiangsu (jiāng sū 江苏), Hunan (hú nán 湖南), Guangdong (guǎng dōng 广东) and Sichuan (sì chuān 四川).

Suzhou EmbroiderySuzhou Embroidery, or Su Xiu (sū xiù 苏绣), has a history of more than 2000 years. Suzhou artists are able to use more than 40 ways of needling and 1000 different types of threads to make flowers, birds, animals and even gardens on a piece of cloth. Su embroidery features a strong, folk flavor and its weaving techniques are characterized by the following: the product surface must be flat, the rim must be neat, the needle must be thin, the lines must be dense, the color must be harmonious and bright and the picture must be even. Su embroidery products fall into three major categories: costumes, decorations for halls and crafts for daily use, which integrate decorative and practical Hunan Embroideryvalues. Double-sided embroidery is an excellent representative of Su embroidery. The best-known work is an embroidered cat with bright eyes and fluffy hair, looking vivid and lifelike.

Hunan Embroidery, or Xiang Xiu (xiāng xiù 湘绣), has a history of at least 2000 years as well. Since artists of traditional Chinese painting are involved in designing pictures and patterns. Xiang embroidery is well known for its time-honored history, excellent craftsmanship and unique style. Xiang embroidery uses pure silk, hard satin, soft satin and nylon as its material, which is connected with colorful silk threads. Absorbing the spirit of Chinese paintings, the embroidery reaches a high artistic level. Xiang embroidery crafts include valuable works of art, as well as materials for daily use.


Guangdong Embroidery
, or Yue Xiu (yuè xiù 粤绣), dates back to at least 1000 years. Guangdong EmbroideryInfluenced by national folk art, Yue embroidery formed its own unique characteristics. The embroidered pictures are mainly of dragons and phoenixes, and flowers and birds, with neat designs and strong, contrasting colors. Floss, thread and gold-and-silk thread embroidery are used to produce costumes, decorations for halls and crafts for daily use. Guangdong Embroidery is usually colorful and bright with neat patterns, with a dragon and phoenix predominating among the images. Prominent works are “Hundred Birds Pay Homage to the Phoenix” (bǎi niǎo cháo fèng 百鸟朝凤) and “Screen of Nine Dragons”(jiǔ lóng píng fēng 九龙屏风).

Sichuan EmbroiderySichuan Embroidery, or Shu Xiu (shǔ xiù 蜀绣), became known as early as 1000 years ago. Originating among the folk people in the west of Sichuan Province, Shu embroidery formed its own unique characteristics: smooth, bright, neat and influenced by the geographical environment, customs and cultures. The works incorporated flowers, leaves, animals, mountains, rivers and human figures as their themes. Altogether, there are 122 approaches in 12 categories for weaving. The craftsmanship of Shu embroidery involves a combination of fine arts, aesthetics and practical uses, such as the facings of quits, pillowcases, coats, shoots and screen covers. The exemplary work are “Hibiscus and Carps”(fú róng lǐ yú 芙蓉鲤鱼) and “Roosters and Coxcomb”(gōng jī jī guān huā 公鸡鸡冠花).

Apart from the above four types, fine embroidery is also made in Beijing (běi jīng 北京), Wenzhou (wēn zhōu 温州), Shanghai (shàng hǎi 上海) and by the Miao ethnic communities (miáo zú 苗族).

刺绣
Embroidery      刺绣,古称针绣,是用绣针引彩线,按设计的花纹在纺织品上刺绣运针,以绣迹构成花纹图案的一种工艺。古代称“黹”、“针黹”。因刺绣多为妇女所作,故又名"女红"。刺绣是中国古老的手工技艺之一,我国的手工刺绣工艺,已经有2000多年历史了。据《尚书》载,远在4000多年前的章服制度,就规定“衣画而裳绣”。至周代,有“绣缋共职”的记载。湖北和湖南出土的战国、两汉的绣品,水平都很高。唐宋刺绣施针匀细,设色丰富,盛行用刺绣作书画,饰件等。明清时封建王朝的宫廷绣工规模很大,民间刺绣也得到进一步发展,先后产了苏绣、粤绣、湘绣、蜀绣,号称“四大名绣”。四大名绣最能直接体现中国刺绣的特色和艺术价值。

      苏绣已有两千六百多年历史,在宋代已具相当规模,那时苏州就出现有绣衣坊、绣花弄、滚绣坊、绣线巷等生产集中的坊巷。明代苏绣已逐步形成自己独特的风格,影响较广。清代为盛期,当时的皇室绣品,多出自苏绣艺人之手;民间刺绣更是丰富多彩。苏州刺绣素以精细、雅洁著称。图案秀丽,色泽文静,针法灵活,绣工细致,形象传神。技巧特点可概括为“平、光、齐、匀、和、顺、细、密”八个字。针法有几十种,常用的有齐针、抢针、套针、网绣、纱绣等。绣品分两大类:一类是实用品,有被面、枕套、绣衣、戏衣、台毯、靠垫等;一类是欣赏品,有台屏、挂轴、屏风等。取材广泛,有花卉、动物、人物、山水、书法等。双面绣《金鱼》、《小猫》是苏绣的代表作。

Embroidery     湘绣是以湖南长沙为中心的刺绣品的总称。是在湖南民间刺绣的基础上,吸取了苏绣和粤绣的优点而发展起来的。清代嘉庆年间,长沙县就有很多妇女从事刺绣,光绪二十四年(1898),优秀绣工胡莲仙的儿子吴汉臣,在长沙开设第一家自绣自销的“吴彩霞绣坊”,作品精良,流传各地,湘绣从而闻名全国。湘绣的特点是用丝绒线(无拈绒线)绣花,劈丝细致,绣件绒面花型具有真实感。常以中国画为蓝本,色彩丰富鲜艳,十分强调颜色的阴阳浓淡,形态生动逼真,风格豪放,曾有“绣花能生香,绣鸟能听声,绣虎能奔跑,绣人能传神”的美誉。湘绣以特殊的鬅毛针绣出的狮、虎等动物,毛丝有力、威武雄健。

      粤绣亦称“广绣”,泛指广东近两、三个世纪的刺绣品而言。粤绣历史悠久,相传最初创始于少数民族,与黎族所制织锦同出一源。远在明代,粤绣就用孔雀羽编线为绣,使绣品金翠夺目,又用马尾毛缠绒作勒线,使粤绣勾勒技法有更好表现;至清代粤绣得到了更大发展。国内收藏以故宫藏为最多而有代表性。构图繁而不乱,色彩富丽夺目,针步均匀,针法多变,纹理分明,善留水路。粤绣品类繁多,欣赏品主要有条幅、挂屏、台屏等;实用品有被面、枕套、床楣、披巾、头巾、台帷和绣服等。一般多作写生花鸟,富于装饰味,常以凤凰、牡丹、松鹤、猿、鹿以及鸡、鹅等为题材,混合组成画面。妇女衣袖、裙面,则多作满地折枝花,铺绒极薄,平贴紬面。配色选用反差强烈的色线,常用红绿相间,眩耀人眼,宜于渲染欢乐热闹气氛。

Embroidery      又名“川绣”。是以四川成都为中心的刺绣品的总称。历史悠久。据晋代常璩《华阳国志》载,当时蜀中刺绣已很闻名,同蜀锦齐名,都被誉为蜀中之宝。清代道光时期,蜀绣已形成专业生产,成都市内发展有很多绣花铺,既绣又卖。蜀绣以软缎和彩丝为主要原料。题材内容有山水、人物、花鸟、虫鱼等。针法经初步整理,有套针、晕针、斜滚针、旋流针、参针、棚参针、编织针等100多种。品种有被面、枕套、绣衣、鞋面等日用品和台屏、挂屏等欣赏品。蜀绣的特点:形象生动,色彩鲜艳,富有立体感,短针细密,针脚平齐,片线光亮,变化丰富,具有浓厚的地方特色。蜀绣中以绣制龙凤软缎被面和传统产品《芙蓉鲤鱼》最为著名。

      除了四大名绣之外,还有顾绣,京绣、瓯绣、鲁绣、闽绣、汴绣、汉绣、麻绣和苗绣等,都各具风格,沿传迄今,历久不衰。

 

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