Embroidery on Chinese Court Costume
The dragon motif is one of the oldest in Chinese decorative arts. Dragon robes represented the quintessential East Asian court attire during the late dynastic period. The elaborately embroidered dragon robes that characterized Ming and Qing court attire with the dragon, symbol of the emperor, flying in the cloudy heavens above the rocks and waves that represented the earth presented a schematic diagram of the Chinese political and cosmological order.
Japanese Costume Embroidery
Japanese robes typically are more subtly decorated with distinctivel Japanese techniques such as shibori(tie-dyeing), ink-painting, and exquisite embroidery. Japanese counterparts tend to utilize less stitchery, often leaving more of the ground fabric visible as a part of the design and combining embroidery with other ornamental techniques, such as dyeing and painting. Japanese embroidery springs from the East Asian needle working tradition that developed in China and Korea, yet it achieves a visual effect quite unlike that characterizing the works produced in neighboring countries.
Embroidered Standing Screen
Throughout East Asia, screens served important social and cultural functions by defining and emphasizing the status of the user, physically separating the genders, creating an appropriate backdrop for religious and ceremonial occasions, and reinforcing cultural ideals through the choice of subject matter for their decorative schemes.
The diadem(ring-na) was embroidered in China for wear by a Tantric Buddhist monk or oracle during rituals and ceremonies such as initiations, funerals, and exorcisms. Each of the five panels depicts one of the Five Transcendent Buddhas(五智如來), divine beings who have overcome the cycle of rebirth and suffering through the attainment of spiritual knowledge.
The design scheme of myriad Buddhas graphically represents the idea that Buddhas can appear endlessly in countless universes throughout time. Although no twenty of the gently smiling Buddhas applied to this hanging are identical, each is shown seated on a lotus throne and framed by a flaming nimbus that indicates his divinity.
This embroidered panel depicts carved-stone guardian figure at Seokguram hermitage(石窟庵). The area to be embroidered first was painted on a base fabric of thunder line-patterned silk, then the figure was embroidered in long satin stitches in gradations of color ranging from gray to copper. The result fully captures the majesty and the lively sense of movement embodied by the original carving.
The Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum, Sookmyung Women's University