or "Su" embroidery is one of the oldest embroidery
techniques in the world, with origins stretching back more
than 2,000 years. Suzhou
embroidery was one of the first embroidery styles to be
developed in China, but its detailed needlework and
intricate images are still produced today.
It is a style characterized by brightly colored silk
embroidered with well-proportioned and uncluttered
representations of almost any pastoral scene, person,
animal, or object. Examples
of Suzhou embroidery were so detailed and intricate that
many people used the pieces as artwork, and some of the
oldest pieces still in existence date back hundreds of
records of detailed embroidered pieces being produced in the
Suzhou area around 200 BC, and of embroidered silk being
used as maps in the second and third century AD.
But it was during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) that
the Suzhou style became prominent. With finely spun silk thread embroiders from the Suzhou area
were able to create images that were said to have
"rivaled nature," and it became very stylish to
have Suzhou embroidery in the home.
Embroidery spread to other provinces throughout
China, and soon embroiderers all over the country were
working were working in the Suzhou style.
Although other techniques of Chinese embroidery have
appeared over the years, it is the Suzhou style that has set
the standard for other styles.
embroidery consists of very detailed representations of
almost any subject embroidered onto fine silk with silk
thread. One of
the distinctive features of Suzhou embroidery is that some
pieces two-sided; that is, the picture is repeated on both
sides of the embroidered piece.
The stitching on Suzhou embroidered pieces is done
with silk threads that have been divided until the actual
thread is almost impossible to see.
Through the repetition of stitches a very dense
embroidering occurs. Suzhou
embroidery has been used in clothing, wall hangings, and
even intricate book covers dating back almost 1,000 years.
embroidery as a technique has continued to grow and develop.
In the years since its first appearance, many
crafting schools have taught the technique, and an entire
industry has developed to produce Suzhou embroidery pieces
for sale both in China and on world markets. However, Suzhou embroidery is not just a commercial
enterprise; master Suzhou embroiderers have practiced their
craft for hundreds of years, creating some of the most
detailed and beautiful pieces.
buy a Suzhou embroidered piece made recently or search for a
piece with more history, Suzhou embroidery remains one of
the world's finest techniques.
Many people around the world are now discovering the
beauty and artistry inherent in these pieces, and it seems
clear that the market for Suzhou embroidery will remain
strong for years to come.