Sharing My Newest “Find”

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I’m a bit of an antique store junkie, and I do try to go “hunting” at least once a month.  While nosing through every nook and cranny of antique malls (and the occasional flea market), I am always on the lookout for needlework items.

Some awesome – and often valuable – pieces have been found on my forays. But, the downside is that my collection has outgrown the linen closet!

My find this week is not particularly valuable – in fact, I have no doubt this Chinese silk embroidery featuring tree peonies was probably mass-produced for export.

But, it’s pretty – and pretty old. The piece provides some outstanding inspiration!

The fact that I found it at all is a little strange, because I didn’t even see the needlework at first. Instead, what I saw was a rather ugly old painting on boards (see photo to the right) tucked in the corner – I moved it to get to the item behind it.

Once I moved the item, it opened to reveal 4 very pretty, tonal embroidered panels.

The two end panels are heavily worn and torn – as if the item had been folded and stuffed in an attic for a few decades, protecting the inside 2 screens. The tears give a glimpse of the Chinese newspaper that was used to pad the panels.

These photos are small, but you can click on them to make them larger, so you can see the details better.

While the panels are not as finely worked as a fine antique, they are worked in silks on silk fabric. The motifs are simple enough to be adapted for a beginner’s satin stitch project – which I plan to post at a later time.

The four panels feature a flowing floral design with branches that flow naturally from one panel to the  next, accented with humming birds.

I am planning to provide a humming bird pattern to be worked in satin stitch using DMC Satin Floss. It’s silky in appearance and I’d like to modernize the design with some hip color choices.

I’ll to post the pattern in a few weeks, but was so excited, I just had to show you what I found!

To learn more about Asian silk embroidery, I would recommend Painting with a Needle by Young Yang Chung or  Chinese Embroidery: Traditional Techniques by Josiane Bertin Guest.

Happy stitching – and hunting!



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Categories: Embroidery, Helpful Hints, Thread Crafts Tags: ,

4 Responses to “Sharing My Newest “Find”Comment RSS feed

  • Anne
    September 1st, 2010 12:20 pm

    What a find! Wish I could find such an item. Love to stitch a piece of it sometime.

  • Marian
    September 1st, 2010 9:51 pm

    re:Painting with a Needle by Young Yang Chung – I have just bought this book for & on behalf of my embroiderer’s guild llibrary.

    thanks for the post; looking forward to the new satin stitch designs esp how you do your hummingbird as I am planning a design for a hummingbird too.

  • Judy Harper
    September 2nd, 2010 7:50 am

    Envy is one of the seven deadly sins – and I’m guilty of that now. You have a real treasure! This is a beautiful thing. I used to design needlepoint bell pulls from these – but with more color. I look forward to seeing what you do with it as insipiration.

  • Su Embroidery Studio
    June 28th, 2015 6:09 am

    Hello Emma, when I saw this silk embroidery, my first impression is that it is not a Chinese silk embroidery. Silk embroidery is practiced in many Asian countries. From the embroidery techniques and the gleaming silk fabric, I feel it is Japanese silk embroidery. Very few Chinese silk embroideries would be embroidered this kind of fabric in the past. But in the Japanese silk embroidery, we often this kind of color of silk fabric. I guess this is because silk embroidery was first widely used in clothing as decoration. This gleaming blue color is popular for Japanese kimonos. Then I clicked the image to see the enlarge photo, I was more convinced it is Japanese silk embroidery. Luckily I found Embroiderers’ Guild of Victoria offered the link where the silk embroidery is from. It is from DMC. So I read the story about how this silk embroidery was found. It turned out that my first impression is correct. In Emma’s story, she said she saw an ugly old painting first and the silk embroidery was behind the old painting. She displayed a large photo of that painting. It looks like a traditional Chinese painting. But the motif of the painting shows that it should be a Japanese painting. Please see the second panel which depicts the Fuji mountain which is very often seen in traditional Japanese paintings. Obviously the silk embroidery and the old painting must be from the same place because their frames are of the same style. The most convincing proof is the newspaper that wrapped the silk embroidery. It is not Chinese newspaper. The characters are Japanese. Thank Emma who found this old silk embroidery and Embroiderers’ Guild of Victoria which let many people know this silk embroidery. As a Chinese silk embroidery lover and maker, I feel I should let the embroidery lovers who saw this post know about the differences between Japanese silk embroidery and Chinese silk embroidery. As a matter of fact, we Su Embroidery Studio offered free appraisal for silk embroideries, whether handmade or machine made and its approximate value. We have received many inquiries so far that the inquirers mistook Japanese silk embroidery as Chinese silk embroidery.


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