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Hunan Embroidery, also called Xiang Embroidery,i
s one of the top four embroideries in China. Embroidery in the Hunan province has developed extensively in the intervening centuries, and Xiang embroidery is a recent product of this development, and borrows influences from other Chinese embroidery styles.While other styles strive for perfection in their craftsmanship, Xiang embroidery is far more akin to folk art with its loose threads and rich colors.Xiang embroidery is still produced today, and is popular throughout China and around the world.
History of Xiang Embroidery
The Xiang embroidery style originated in the Hunan province of China, where examples of embroidery have been found which date back more than 2,300 years.The history of Xiang embroidery starts in the Chu Kingdom,
around the third century B.C. Excavations of archaeological sites dating back to this period have discovered examples of embroidery produced in the Hunan province which use fine silk and multiple colors. However, the Xiang embroidery style that is most familiar to modern audiences developed during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Because of its relatively late introduction, Xiang embroidery has enjoyed the benefits of being able to borrow stylistic elements from the older Su and Yue embroidery styles. But despite this cross pollination of styles, Xiang embroidery embodies many unique characteristics that mark it a style all on its own.
Xiang embroidery has earned a place amongst its fellow styles as one of four the great Chinese embroidery styles. By using elements of ancient Hunan embroidery, the Su embroidery developed around 1,000 A.D., and Yue embroidery developed in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), Xiang embroidery makes figures and colors come alive with vibrant textures and craftsmanship. Examples of Xiang embroidery are still popular today, and can be used practically as clothing, pillow cases, and sheets or as art pieces in and of themselves.
Famous Products of Xiang Embroidery
Xiang embroidery is done on transparent chiffon silk. The silk threads are dyed and then soaked in water containing pod nuts – the oil in these nuts tends to make the thread soft and easy to work with. There are several distinct needling techniques used, and their lack of precision is by design – the random or uneven nature of this needling means that colors and textures are often mixed together with great effect. The most famous examples of Xiang embroidery use tigers as their subject. Birds, landscape scenes, and people can also be used as subjects – one of the characteristics of Xiang embroidery is that animals and people seem to be alive, thanks to the vibrant colors and often almost three dimensional effect created by the thick knots and stitching. Xiang embroidery pieces are often two sided, with different patterns or images on each side of the transparent chiffon.
Famous Xiang Embroidery Places to visit
, where Xiang embroidery originated, is honored as "Town of Xiang Embroidery". Based on Hunan's folk embroidery crafts and absorbed quintessence of Suzhou Embroidery and Gu Embroidery, Shaping Xiang Embroidery initiated its own unique style...More