In the small town alongside Taihu Lake, seated at the embroidery frames are the beautiful embroiders of Suzhou, whose fingers ripple over needles and threads to make elegant and refined patterns. As the symbol of Suzhou, Suzhou embroidery endows the city with delicacy and the embroiders with intelligent and serene character.
Suzhou embroidery brings up a group of embroiders, while the embroiders also create Suzhou embroidery. The smart and beautiful Suzhou embroiders keep improving their techniques and innovation as time passes by, including fine embroidery, irregular embroidery and double-sided embroidery. Every time they make a breakthrough, they also contribute to keep vigor of Suzhou embroidery.
Ms. Zhou Haiyun is just such an intelligent embroider from Suzhou. She began to learn embroidery at the age of seven. During over forty years’ career, embroidery is not only a profession, but also a kind of inheritance and mission to her. She creates unique irregular embroidery of her own, on the basis of traditional techniques. In this way, she manages to get rid of the insipidity of existing techniques, achieve a better reflection of light on threads, and endows her works of art with a feeling of nimbleness, freedom, haziness and smoothness. This technique is fit for depicting flora and background embroidery.
Suzhou embroidery has been associated closely with paintings and calligraphy since Song dynasty, from which it learnt a lot, enriched its means of expression and represented all kinds of fancy stitches. The exhibits on display are based upon paintings of Tang, Song, Ming and Qing dynasty, to manifest the beauty of Suzhou embroidery in different paintings. The artist researches the dynamics of paintings and sewing threads, in pursuit of better embroidery than paintings with needles and threads instead of writing brush and pigment, to create fabulous embroidery works.
Suzhou embroidery has been a part of our daily life since Song dynasty. Its gentleness and elegance has lasted for over a thousand years in Jiangnan area. It is not merely an object or craft, but rather a kind of culture, which demonstrates the beauty of Suzhou.
Meanwhile, we would like to extend sincere thanks to Ms. Zhou Haiyun for her donation of Waterfront Town and Studio, which enriches our collections.
Director of Suzhou Museum