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Embroidery Exhibition Celebrates Chinese Cultural Heritage

Exhibition at the Chinese Cultural Heritage Centre focusses on the ancient form of Suzhou embroidery

July 25th, 2019
Frankie Fraser, News from Berlin
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From July 5th until the 21 August, the Chinese Cultural Heritage Centre in Berlin is holding an exhibition focussing on one of the most iconic aspects of Chinese culture, Suzhou embroidery from the town of Zhenhu.

The exhibition is named ‘Splendid China: Embroidery Art from Suzhou- An intangible Cultural Heritage of China’. The areas around Zenhu are commonly referred to as “the most beautiful place in the west of the empire Wu”, the magnificent landscape around Taihu Lake has inspired artists for more than 2 500 years, making the embroidery technique one of the oldest in the world. It has become a fundamental aspect of Chinese culture, with it placed on the list of the First Rank of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage.

It is a highly complex technique, with the paints, pencils and pens of other forms of arts replaced with threads and stitches. The artists' canvas is silk, with it is soft and delicate but also allows for a variety of stitches, patterns and colours. This makes it a highly intricate process, requiring patience, care and craftsmanship. The traditional subjects of the works focus on natural environments, characters, and mythical beasts. Common motifs include dragons, phoenixes, lotus flowers and peonies. The exhibition at the Chinese Cultural Centre Berlin focusses on landscapes and impressions from China’s south, focussing on Chinese fauna and flora, and the sweeping lakes and rivers which characterise through the region.

Suzhou embroidery, although a definitive part of Chinese culture, has not stayed frozen in centuries past, but has been subject to significant evolution from generation to generation. Shen Shou became known as ‘the needle goddess of her generation’ founded a new technique referred to as simulation embroidery, to Yang Shouyu, who innovated creating a technique known as ‘cross-stitching’, which created a 3D effect to the pieces. Hence, as a cornerstone of Chinese culture, these embroidery techniques themselves are subject to innovation and creativity. The exhibition runs until the 21 August, with it a fantastic opportunity to witness masterworks in the person. The Department of Cultural Events for the Chinese Cultural Centre hope that it is used as an opportunity for native Berliners to experience this iconic art style.

References

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