Suzhou Embroidery

Embroidery is made by using a threaded needle and various stitches to produce a decorative pattern on a piece of base material. The Chinese art of embroidery attained a fairly high level in the dynasties of Qin and Han more than 2,000 years ago, the most outstanding Chinese embroideries are Suzhou embroidery in Jiangsu Province, Hunan embroidery in Hunan Province, Guangdong embroidery in Guangdong Province, and Sichuan embroidery in Sichuan Province. These four schools of Chinese embroidery are now designated by the government as a Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage.


Suzhou embroidery has a long history. In ancient times, people living south of the Yangtze River, in the areas where many rivers crisscrossed, relied on fishing as a food source. In order to work in the water, people in the Wu state (which covered parts of what are now the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui and Zhejiang) cut their hair short and tattooed their bodies with dragons. As their society progressed they began to wear clothes, but some still liked to sport tattoos.

Legend has it that a lovely young girl embroidered tattoo designs on clothes for her fellow villagers so that they could avoid the painful process of skin tattoos. This not only helped the local tribes preserve their custom of worshiping primitive totems, but also added richness to the tattoo colors.

Suzhou embroidery is categorized into Pre and Post Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when Suzhou embroidery was influenced by both Japanese and Western art, absorbing these and changing forever.

The most salient features of Suzhou embroidery are:

    It is renowned for its refinement, delicate lines and its elegant, tasteful overall design.

    It is tightly stitched, and uses a thin needle to produce meticulously crafted patterns.

    Its colors are not monochromatic, but consist of the proper mix of different colored threads so as to achieve the desired hue.

    It is "reversible" though the best Suzhou embroidery masters produced double-sided embroidery where the reverse side was a mirror image of the front.


"Double-sided Embroidery"

"Double-sided Embroidery"

Suzhou embroidery became so famous during the Qing Dyanasty (1644-1912) that Suzhou was called "City of Embroidery". Suzhou embroidery was the favorite in the Qing Dynasty court, for royal clothing and wall decoration.

"Hand Embroidery Coat"

"Hand Embroidery Coat"

"Bespoke Coat for VIP Our Customer"

"Hand Embroidery Cashmere Vest"

"Hand Embroidery Cashmere Scarf"