About this object

History of use

Blue and white embroideries are part of an ancient 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

Taoist and other symbols of happiness, longevity and to dispel evil. Butterfly; joy, conjugal felicity. Bat; happiness, prosperity, longevity.

Physical description

White jacket embroidered with black thread and trimmed with black outward turned facing. The jacket has a round neck, wide sleeves and centre opening with frog closures. On the shoulders are two small roundels with bird, sprig, bat, lotus and butterfly motifs. On the centre back is a large roundel with two birds, butterfly, lotus, cherry blossom, sprigs, leaves, centipede and spider motifs. There is black facing around the neck, sleeves and centre opening. The inside is unlined.