gim (Valance)

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

Phoenix, peace and prosperity. Swastika, supreme good luck. Dragon, power, goodness and strength. Key design, thunder, clouds, rain, good harvest. Clouds , fertility of the land. Boy on ch'i-lin holding cassia sprig, rising to greatness. Butterfly, joy, brightness, true love. Fan, delicacy, sage. Vase of flowers, maintenance of peace. Basket of flowers, old age. Fish, wealth, bliss, harmony.

Physical description

Plain cloth with blue embroidery. Design at center is of ship with 6 persons, flying two flags, and a fish at bottom and potted flowers at top. Ship flanked by two medallions, one of rider on horse, the other of symbol and insects. Two smaller medallions beside these, one is either worn or incomplete, the other is of vine and flowers. Smaller decorative motifs near each end. At each corner along the bottom is a dragon, and at each top corner is swasztika symbol and flowers (?) Border on all three sides of phoenix and flowers. Hemmed bottom, raw sides, top selvedge.