This embroidery piece is based on the painting with calligraphy by Wen Zhengming (1470-1559 AD), one of the four most important painters of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 AD). Housed now in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, the painting illustrates both the unyielding bamboo with vitality and the elegant, charming orchids.
The inscription on the embroidery was crafted by Lu Shuxian, and the bamboo and orchids were done by the joint hands of Master Lu and her daughter Lu Junjian. Thanks to their relationship between mother and daughter, and also tutor and apprentice, the two artists’ perfect cooperation brings out the best of each other.
Lu Junjian’s masterful application of various techniques, such as the thread-twisting stitches (jiao zhen, 绞针) and random stitches (luan zhen, 乱针) at the key sections of orchid leaves, endows the orchid with agility and vitality. When it comes to the bamboo, the leaves were embroidered in groups, which are connected but not mixed together, separated but not detached based on their ingenious embroidery techniques and full understanding of the painting. In a nutshell, the artists fully reproduced the free-flowing and elegant brushwork, and simple but beautiful artistic charm of ink painting on a piece of needlework.