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

Lion; power, valor. Deer and hare; longevity. Peach flowers on deer's body dispel evil. Cock; yang element. Lotus; female genius, creative power. Butterfly; joy, conjugal felicity. Pomegranate; offspring, posterity. Swastika; supreme good luck. Citron; Buddha's hand, wealth, divine protection.

Physical description

White valance with dark blue embroidery. The valance has five large roundels and a border around three sides. The rinceau border includes triangular corners and two bands, one thick and one thin. The bands have lotus, cock, pomegranate and butterfly motifs. The upper corners have pomegranate and swastika motifs; lower corners have peach and butterfly motifs. The far left roundel has deer, cock, vase holding branch with pear and leaf with a small human figure in the centre and man with official’s hat. The roundel left of centre has hare with rosettes on body, lotus, cock and pomegranate motifs. The centre roundel has lion, butterfly, pomegranate and floral motifs. The roundel right of centre has deer with six peach flowers on body, lotus, butterfly, cock, flowers, small rat and bird motifs. The roundel at far right has lotus, butterfly, two human figures and peach motifs. The roundels are separated by eight smaller motifs including fish in a basket, two citron in a basket, stylized fruit, floral and bird motifs. One horizontal edge is selvage; the other three are hemmed.