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

Buddha's hand; wealth, divine protection. Swastika, supreme good luck. Pomegranate; prosperity, hope for a large family. Ch'i-lin; longevity, felicity, illustrious offspring. Phoenix; peace, prosperity. Butterfly; joy, conjugal fidelity.

Physical description

Plain white with blue embroidered panel of seven medallions separated by small floral motifs and butterflies. Centre medallion: floral sprays and tendrils, two Buddha hands with swastikas, pomegranates, various fruit and flowers. Outer medallions on each side are identical; four ch'i-lin with five swastikas on each body; arranged around central large floral motif; ch'i-lins separated by floral designs. Next inner medallions on each side also identical with floral motifs and phoenix. Medallions to left and right of center medallion are similar in form, with vases of large stylized fruit, surrounded by small flowers, leaves and in the medallion on PL, a phoenix. Geometric border on sides and bottom, inner border on bottom has repeating design of trees, pagodas, boats, phoenixes. Triangular floral design in bottom corners. Top and bottom selvage, sides hemmed.