Xiang embroidery is considered one of the four great embroidery styles of China, and has been practiced in that country for hundreds of years.
Xiang embroidery (Xiang Style Chinese Embroidery) was initiated in the Chu Kingdom of the Warring States Period. It had become the main craft in places around Changsha, capital city of Hunan Province, in the Qing Dynasty Xiang embroidery was developed from Hunan folk embroidery methods, but it also drew on the skills of Su embroidery and Yue embroidery.
Xiang embroidery embodies many unique characteristics that mark it a style all on its own. 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 designs of Xiang embroidery mostly derive from photos, traditional Chinese paintings, landscapes, portraits, flowers, birds and animals or western oil paintings. They feature techniques of painting, engraving, inscription, calligraphy and embroidery. Absorbing the spirit of Chinese paintings, Xiang embroidery reaches a high artistic level. A flower seems to send off fragrance, a bird seems to sing, a tiger seems to run and a person seems to breathe in Xiang Embroidery. Tigers appear strong and bold, revealing their power and menace as the king of animals. Xiang embroidery which is really unbelievably beautiful Chinese traditional art has won awards from several international fairs and known abroad as the ideal embroidery.
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