A Brief Discussion on the Themes of Women’s Embroidery in the Ming and Qing Dynasties

Bingqing Gao


Embroidery is a part of the needlework that is one of the four virtues of women in ancient times, including “appearance, speech, needlework and behavior”. (Chen Baoliang, 2004) The education of women in old times mainly focused on the "feminine virtues" and "needlework". Due to cultivation at an early age, the upper-class women were mostly clever and intelligent, and did not have to earn their own living. Because of the restraints of the traditional society, they could not devote too much of their time and energy to the technical improvement of the needlework. The embroidery works of women in the Ming and Qing dynasties, however, show different characteristics from that of the previous age. They skillfully adopted the ideas of old masters, and with continuation and development, they showed signs to separate embroidery from traditional needlework, eventually making it into an independent art.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/ach.v2n2p71

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