Suzhou embroidery, Hunan embroidery, Sichuan embroidery and Guangdong embroidery are the four most famous in China. Suzhou embroidery has a long history. It has been excavated in Auspicious Tower and Mount Tiger Tower made in Northern Song in Five dynasties. The embroidery was made in rather professional ways, which is believed to be the earliest by now.
It is recorded that suzhou embroidery was very prosperous and the art reached perfection after Song dynasty. Each family bred silkworms, made embroidery. There appeared embroidery thread lanes, brocade mills, embroidery flower streets, etc., in the city. That proved the prosperity of suzhou embroidery. Some lived by embroidering. Daughters in rich families were engaged in it as a way of killing time and molding their experiment. That's how "popular embroidery", "boudoir embroidery" and "palace embroidery" came into being.
Suzhou embroidery in Qing dynasty reached its culmination. Suzhou was called the "market of embroidery", famous both at home and abroad. There were various ways of knitting and they were applied widely. Mountains, rivers, lakes, pavilions, flowers and birds, characters were all embroidered. Suzhou embroidery was largely needed in the palace. Therefore wonderful and magnificent embroidery sprang up.
The pieces of embroidery on characters, animals and flowers, mountains and water are for appreciation. They can also be made into pictures, book marks, a set of hanging scrolls, etc. There are also the varieties of embroidery: single-side embroidery, double-side embroidery of different colors. Double-side embroidery, the specific style of suzhou embroidery can be appreciated from both sides. Pictures look exactly the same and wonderful on both sides. Special ways are used in knitting instead of knotting. There the end of silk threads are invisible. It is knitted in the right angle without piercing the other side. Both sides will present the same excellent effect. The Nangjing Bridge, Xiangjun, the peony, the cat, the goldfish are the masterpieces in double-side embroidery.
At the end of Qin dynasty and the beginning of Ming dynasty, Songtao, an expert at embroidery, renovated the traditional way of knitting. Flowers and birds, characters embroidered in new ways, or endowed with new meaning were very characteristic. The image of Lina, the queen of Italy absorbed the theory of chiaroscuro. Close attention was paid to the vividness of the images. Such embroidery was called "art embroidery" or "emulation embroidery". Songtao combined the previous art and his own experience, classified the way of knitting into 18 varieties, as recorded by Zhangsui in a book. Thus the way of knitting was systematized. Her own embroidery won several awards for the country in International Fair.