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Embroidery and Silk

There are four important embroidery centers in China. They are Hunan, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Sichuan, each famous for its own particular style. Therefore Xiang (Hunan), Shu (Sichuan), Su (Jiangsu), and Yue (Guangdong) have become the four most famous styles of embroidery.

Xiang embroidery has a history spanning more than 2,500 years. The designs show birds, animals, flowers, and landscapes. Originally Xiang embroidery was done on a single side of a piece of fabric. Later craftsmen adopted the technique of double-sided embroidery in which both sides display the same design in the same color.


Su embroidery is famous for its delicate workmanship, beautiful designs, and tasteful colors. Suzhou's double-sided embroidery has a distinct pattern on either side. The two sides bear different patterns with different stitches and colors.

Yue embroidery, which is usually done in bright colors, includes the woolen needlepoint, cotton embroidery, and embroidery with gold and silver thread. The superb workmanship of the Yue embroidery enables it to win prizes at international fairs in Panama and London in 1915 and 1923.

The typical example of the Shu embroidery is " Hibiscus and Carp". Smooth, beautiful and exquisitely stitched, it shows a hibiscus tree growing on the river band and carps swimming in the clear water.


With a history of 5,000 years, China was the earliest producer of silk in the world. Silk cocoons and bits of silk have been found among relics from 4,700 B.C. Silk fabrics traveled to Europe and the Middle East along the "Silk Road" 2,000 years ago.

Today, silk technology is much advanced and silk fabric come in several hundred varieties; the best known include georgette crepe, damask, satin, silk gauze, crepe silk, raw silk, velvet, tough silk, embroidered silk and painted silk.



The traditional silk centers of Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces are still the two major producers of raw silk and silk fabrics in China with a combined output that makes up more than half of the national total.

China's three best known brocades are: the Song brocade made in Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province, the Nanjing brocade made in Nanjing of Jiangsu Province and the Sichuan brocade made in Chengdu of Sichuan Province.


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