Valance

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

utilitarian;household

Iconographic meaning

Superimposed squares form an eight sides figure of cosmic significance. Rosettes and swastikas are symbols of good luck. The phoenix represents longevity; tiger, courage and dignity. The lotus stands for summer and fruitfulness.

Physical description

White valance with dark blue embroidery. The valance has five large roundels and a border around three sides with triangular pieces in each corner. The bottom inner border repeats a floral and leaf motif. The bottom outer border repeats a floral and tassel motif. The corners have rosette and swastika motifs. The far left roundel has plant, rosette and swastika motifs within an octagon shape. The roundel left of centre has phoenix, tiger, water plant and lotus motifs. The centre roundel has phoenix, dragon, two human figures, floral and tendril motifs in an oval shape. The right of centre roundel has three phoenixes, lotus, floral and leaf sprig motifs. The far right roundel has floral, leaf and four fruit motifs in a central square. The roundels are separated by smaller vase motifs. Three sides are hemmed.