Silk and silver thread, silvered paper; needleloop embroidery
Overall: 63.8 x 60 cm (25 1/8 x 23 5/8 in.); Mounted: 69.8 x 67.3 cm (27 1/2 x 26 1/2 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1993.10
Judging from the border on the lower portion, this fragment is most of one lobe of a cloud-collar medallion. Each of the three other original sections would have been embroidered with the same design.
Against a deep blue satin ground, a peony tree emerges from an undulating sea. This embroidery was made using the needle looping technique, in which rows of detached loops are worked over silvered paper, attaching the ground only along the contours of the design. The design is filled with auspicious symbols, including the peony symbolizing wealth and honor, and the rock (shoushi 壽石) symbolizing longevity. There are small Buddhist symbols among the flowers, including the wheel of the law, a pair of conch shells representing the sounds of the Buddha’s teachings, and a swastika, an auspicious symbol signifying good fortune introduced into China from India with Buddhism.
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