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Decorative Designs in Chinese Art 中国文物的纹饰

Fire Design 火纹
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Embroidery is a method using thread to sew a decorative design on silk or cotton cloth. Because of the history of silk in China, Chinese embroidery is done on silk It dates back to the Neolithic, when silk was developed. There are four main regional styles of Chinese embroidery 四大名绣, which incude Suzhou Emrboidery 苏绣, Hunan Embroidery 湘绣, Guangdong Embroidery 粤绣, and Sichuan Embroidery 蜀绣. Apart from these, there are also other regional styles. Sichuan Embroidery has the longest history. A piece of silk embroidery dating circa 1,000 BCE was found in a tomb in Egypt and has been confirmed as sewn in a style from Sichuan. Artifacts found in the Three Stars Mound 三星堆 in Sichuan and also other sites in China confirm silk production in the Neolithic. Other ethnic groups, including the Bai, Miao, Zhuang and Tibetan people have their own styles of embroidery. The four main regional styles of Chinese embroidery emerged in the 19th century.

The dragon below was embroidered with flat gold 平金, a technique developed in Suzhou, that uses gold thread to create a slightly protruding flat design. The needle work method used is petit-point 纳纱.

Dragon robe
Dragon robe with flat gold petit-point embroidery
Qing (1644—1911), Suzhou Silk Museum
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