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

Vase, maintenance of peace. Deer, longevity. Plum; winter, long life. Peach; immorality, marriage. Rosettes, good omens. Coins, prosperity. Flower basket; beauty, peace, harmony. Phoenix; longevity, woman. Lotus; summer, fruitfulness. Peach, immortality. Butterfly; joy, marital fidelity.

Physical description

Black embroidery on white cotton. Five rectangular designs. First, from viewer's left: vase with flowers flanked by bird, deer; surrounded by plum, peach, geometric motifs; rosettes, coins distributed throughout. Next motif towards center shows flower basket on table flanked by phoenixes, plums; surrounded by tendril, tassel motifs. Central motif has flower dish with lotus; surrounded by fruit, floral, bird, tassel motifs. Next is similar to second motif. Last motif at shows vase flanked by birds, fruit, flower petals; surrounded by bird, tendril, peach, butterfly; rosettes throughout. At corner on left triangular design with flower, leaves, tendril, geometric motifs. At corner on right triangular design of stylized flowers, tendril, geometric motifs. Embroidered border along sides and bottom has phoenix and flower design. Extra diamond motif along bottom border. Ends hemmed, selvedge top and bottom.