Silk embroidery is an ancient and integral part of China's cultural heritage, and has long been associated with royalty. For centuries, this craft has adorned the vestments and palaces of Chinese emperors and their families to signify their supremacy and set them apart from those they ruled. Here we look at some of the most influential pieces of imperial silk embroidery from China's history, and examine both their influence on imperial culture and Chinese art in general.
Su embroidery (su xiu 苏绣) is the most celebrated of the four main styles of Chinese silk embroidery, hailing from Suzhou and surrounding towns of Jiangsu province. Renowned for its subtle and refined needlework, Su embroidery is praised for its use of the finest threads, balanced compositions, dense stitching and smooth finish.