About this object

History of use

Blue and white embroideries are part of a long domestic tradition. Designs vary geographically but are constant within generations of families except for minor individual variations. Often used to decorate the bed which traditionally played a focal part in household ritual particularly at the new year when all household spirits were honored. They are family made, by women, and family owned. These embroideries were of no local commercial value.

Cultural context


Iconographic meaning

Phoenix denotes peace, prosperity; swastika represents Buddha's heart, the symbol of supreme good luck. Cats are empowered to frighten evil spirits. 8 sided star is of ancient supernatural significance. The pomegranate denotes prosperity and fertility. Butterfly is a symbol of joy and the summer soul. The mounted figure wears characteristic students cap.

Physical description

Plain grey cloth with blue embroidery of five medallions each with centre design surrounded by rotary arrangement of repeated elements. Medallion at viewer's left side: central phoenix, surrounded by floral design. Inner medallions identical; 6-sided centre with swastika, surrounded by vine and floral design. Centre medallion; square centre with cats, swastikas, phoenix and floral surround. Medallion at other end; 8 sided star with floral centre and phoenix and floral surround. Outer medallions are separated by vine and pomegranate design above butterfly design. Centre and inner medallions are separated by mounted human figures. Crosshatched line and rosette border at base, sides. Human figure with butterfly and with tendrils in the corners. Hemmed all around. Unmatched stitches in third medallion and corner fillers.