“Silk embroidery has been one of the most prestigious arts in China, surpassing the fame of painting during some periods. From its earliest development, around 800 B.C.E., roughly half a millennium before the terra-cotta warriors were buried in the grave of the emperor, outside what is now Xi’an (c.210 B.C.E.), embroidery has evolved rapidly during those period when social conditions favored it. Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644) the court in Beijing established official embroidery workshops in Suzhou.” - Quote from “Threads of Light” by Robert Glenn Ketchum, article by Patrick Dowdey, the Editor of this book.

In China, there are four styles of silk embroidery. They are Hunan, Sichuan, Canton, and last, also the best of all – Suzhou, which is very different from the other three. The best and finest silk arts are made and presented in Suzhou style.

There are about 40 different basic stitches which are able to present a wide range of art effects from water to fog, smoke, and others like never before imagined. Silk thread and silk fabric are materials used to present the art. Very often the artists have to split the silk threads – a single thread can be divided into anywhere between 16 to 64 separate threads depending on the desired effect. The more a thread is divided, the finer the embroidery art will be, and the longer the time is needed to complete it.

Traditionally, young girls in Suzhou are taught to embroider by their families starting at the age of 5 to 6 – each generation passing down the art form to the next. Every artist has to go through a long and arduous learning process to become a good embroiderer. With China’s rapid development and modernization, fewer and fewer youngsters have the patience to stay in this traditional art field, leaving town to seek a more exciting and different lifestyle. This results in an appreciation of silk art every year.

Thus we at Lu Lu’s Silk Art Gallery have the urgency to show these wonderful Suzhou silk arts to the world and help all who love this kind of art to collect a piece before they disappear.