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

Vase, maintenance of peace. Clouds, fertility of land. Cicada, immortality, resurrection, happiness, eternal youth. Butterfly; joy, marital felicity. Fish; wealth, abundance. Mulberry; comforts of home and industry.

Physical description

Blue embroidered blue valance. Three vases on stands, each holds different flowering branch. Have central animal design, borders at shoulders and base. Central vase holds two branches of blossom, sprig, leaves. Vase on left has cicada design. Holds two branches of blossom, leaves, buds. Vase on right has central butterfly design and holds two branches of blossom, buds, leaves, bird between. Four alternating designs from left: bird on simple stem plant; larger bird on mulberry bush; fish, water plants, waves; two small birds on mulberry bush. Solid blue order on all three sides, inner blue border of tape. Top selvedge.