Baisha Naxi Embroidery Institute

The history and development of Chinese embroidery

The history and development of Chinese embroidery  China is one of the earliest country knows that how to do handmade embroidery .In the New Stone Age ,our Chinese ancient forefathers already knew how to do embroidery ,that was 8000 years ago, at that time ,the embroidered robes and dresses were only used politically by the tribal leaders when they got together to make some ritual sites , like  heaven worship, earth worship, natural totem worship and so on. The patterns which were embroidered mainly natural totems like dragons, the stars, the moon, and the sun ….very simple.  

  From the New Stone Age to the Western Zhou Dynasty, that was from 8000 years ago to 5000 years ago, embroidery was a symbol of social status and social classes, it was a very luscious staff just like today’s Louis Vitton and Gucii bags, only for the royal families and the very rich noble people .It was particularly used as the robes and dresses.

  In the Han Dynasty ,1400 years ago, with the foundation and development of the northern Silk Road , the embroidery began partially came out from the royal family and got in to the ordinary people’s life , and our Chinese embroidery went to the western countries for the fist time, like today France, Italy, Spain…along the Northern Silk Road.

  In the Wei Dynasty, 1800 years ago, the Indian Buddhism was introduced into our country, in order to show the very high respect to the Buddha, some very important Buddha figures were embroidered and hang in the royal families and some temples. So, the Buddha figure embroidery was formed 1800 years ago. It became very popular in the Tang Dynasty 1200 years ago, and Buddha figure embroidery came into the ordinary people life from the royal family and noble family. With the foundation and development of the Water Silk Road, our Chinese embroidery went into the East Asia and the southern East Asian countries like today’s Japan, Korea, and Singapore; Philippine ….And the private embroidery workshop was formed at that time. More and more beautiful, rich and well-educated young girls joined into the community to do embroideries. And weather a girl can do embroidery or not became a code, standard to choose a good wife or not .A good girl or wife was determined by can she do embroidery or not. The phrase Dajiaguixiu was formed at that time .Dajia means the very rich and noble family, Guixiu means the very well-educated, beautiful and charming young girls.

The heyday of the embroidery was the Song and Ming Dynasty ,800 to 600 years ago , the famous painting embroidery like famous national painting ,famous portrait figure embroidery were formed in the Song Dynasty. The embroidery had a big character that was it characterize with a very western ethnic style, costumes, cultures, the reason was the political centers were located in the western countries before the Song Dynasty. In the Ming Dynasty 600 years ago ,the embroidery became one very important industry for the government .and the four famous embroidery styles were formed, some masters created their own embroidery style ,like the Gu embroidery and Bufu embroider, Bufu embroidery means attachment embroidery, only for the royal high officials , the high officials were classified into art official and warrior official , each of them were be classified into nine levels ,how to identify their levels , the Bufu ,attachment embroidery dress in both back and front dress can tell us, for example, if his attachment embroidered whit crane ,roster peacock ,swallow pigeon , turtle dove ,mandarin duck, egret, quail ,means he is art official , from one to nine levels , if his attachment embroidered with unicorn ,lion,  leopard, tiger, panda,  dog, rhino, seahorse, he is warrior official. In the later Qing Dynasty, the portrait embroidery and the Shen style embroidery were created by some famous masters, like the portrait of Jesus , portrait of DougeeCixi …., and the machine made embroidery was brought from the western countries.

 The embroidery was declined and destroyed during the Great Cultural Revolution 1966—1976, It was disappeared until to 1980, China opened the door to the outside world. With the fast economic development, our embroidery has been developed very well in recent 20 years. The development of embroidery in our history witnessed the development of our economy, witnessed the growth of our nation, and witnessed the great change of our culture.  

In the prosperous society, embroidery becomes very popular, in the chaotic society, gold becomes very popular.