24 September - 14 October 2007

Exhibition realized in cooperation with the Embassy of China in Belgrade

Coordinator of the exhibition: Milena Vitković Žikić, Museum Advisor

Embroidery as a Chinese handicraft has long been an important facet of traditional Chinese arts and crafts. Practiced all over the country, China’s most famous works of embroidery come from Suzhou (abbr. Su), Hunan (abbr. Xiang), Sichuan (abbr. Shu) and Guangdong (abbr. Yue). Embroidery as a folk art is imbued with the distinct characteristics of its locality. As an art form it features exquisite craftsmanship, immaculate execution and strong aesthetic appeal.

Su (Suzhou) Embroidery is crafted in areas centered on Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. It is noted for its beautiful patterns, elegant colors, variety of stitches, and consummate craftsmanship. A needle creates Su embroidery on fabric as a brush paints a picture on canvas. Stitching is meticulously skillful, coloration subtle and refined.

Xiang (Hunan) Embroidery comes from areas centered on Changsha, capital of Hunan Province. It is distinct for its starkly elegant black, white and gray coloration. Its emphasis is on contrasts of light and shade that highlight the pattern texture to give a three-dimensional effect. Xiang Embroidery composition combines void and solid imagery, utilizing empty space in the same way as Chinese ink-and-wash paintings.

Yue (Guangdong or Guang) Embroidery includes that crafted in Chaozhou. It is composed of intricate but symmetrical patterns, vibrant colors, varied stitches and a defined weave. Its use of primary colors, light and shade are reminiscent of Western paintings.

Shu (Sichuan) Embroidery comes from areas centered on Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province. Its raw materials are satin and colored silk, its craftsmanship painstaking and refined. The emphasis is on even stitching, delicate coloration, and local flavor. Sichuan embroidery is used to decorate quilt covers, pillowcases, garments, shoes and painted screens.

Choice of image apart, the successful creation of a work of embroidery pivots on stitching methods, coloration, and their combination. These factors are decisive when applying distinct embroidery techniques to the depiction of figures, objects, animals, backgrounds, landscapes and ornaments.

Organic development and accumulation over centuries has made embroidery a complete art of rich patterns and malleable forms that evoke intense aesthetic pleasure. Works fall naturally into different series according to subject matter and technique. They include oil painting, traditional Chinese painting, water towns, flowers, greeting cards, pigeons and flower vases. Examples of practical-use embroidered articles are garments, handkerchiefs, scarves and greeting cards.

On display are scores of embroidered works, including daily-use articles from Suzhou and Hunan. The techniques and artistic accomplishments these works imbue are a true reflection of modern Chinese embroidery.