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

Butterfly symbolizes joy and marital fidelity. The uppermost symbol in the third motif represents Buddha's hand. The pomegranate stands for prosperity and fertility. The fish with stand of sea grass represents passage through dragon gates. The swastikas are cosmological symbols of good omen. The cock is a zodiac animal which stands for warmth and for life. The vase is a Buddhist symbol of harmony. The inner border includes symbols of scholarship and learning. Thunder is the symbol for good harvest.

Physical description

Plain cloth with black embroidery of seven vase motifs, geometric scroll border on three sides. Center vase has sword(?) with swastika on it behind vas and tree with different fruits on it. A bird perches at top. Vase on viewer's left has geometric design on it and holds branch of different fruits and flowers. Other vase sits on table and has long branches of flowers, with a tassel near bottom. Smaller vase at end has five fruits and flower elements. Vase to right of center has fish on it and tassels hanging from vase handles on either side. Flowers at very top. Vase to right shows same pattern as vase at left of center. Smaller vase at end has one blossom on it and holds branch of four fruit. Various motifs along geometric border of scrolls, instruments, flowers, insects, and books. Two selvedge and two raw edges.