Three Reviews on Books about Chinese Textiles and Needlework Traditions

The exquisite Chinese textiles included in the three book reviews below are sure to fascinate and delight. From the scrumptious silk embroidery of the rank badges to finely woven cloth for their robes, China’s needlework traditions are revered far and wide. Crack open one of these volumes and be transported to the far East.

Chinese Textiles

Threads of Gold: Chinese Textiles Ming to Ch’ing (affiliate link)
By Paul Haig & Marla Shelton
Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2006. Hardbound, 304 pages, $79.95. ISBN 978-0-7643-2538-8.

This is a brilliantly illustrated guide to collectible Chinese textiles and a book that is a must-have for collectors, historians, and students alike. More than 500 textiles, badges, and court robes are depicted in full color with information on type, techniques, materials, date, characteristics, size, and value. It is also a feast for the eyes.

Chinese Textiles

Symbols and Rebuses in Chinese Art: Figures, Bugs, Beasts, and Flowers (affiliate link)
By Fang Jing Pei
Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press, 2004. Softbound, 214 pages, $27.95. ISBN 1-58008-551-2.

This book is both very informative and a feast for the eyes. The A to Z format makes it very handy to use; the symbols are depicted in glorious decorative art objects and textiles.

Chinese Textiles

Chinese Textiles (affiliate link)
By Verity Wilson
London: V&A Publications, 2005. Hardbound, 128 pages. $50. ISBN 1-85177-438-6.

Author Verity Wilson was curator of Chinese textiles at the Victoria and Albert Museum until 2004 and remains an internationally renowned specialist on the subject. Here, she leads the reader through history and Chinese culture as it relates to textile examples. Over 100 brilliant pieces are grouped by their purpose—usually for celebration and ceremony although decorative textiles play their role. This book is a rich resource and would be a respectable addition to your library.

Find out more about needlework from around the world in every issue of PieceWork. Plus, knit Katrina King’s Golden Flower Shawl, which uses a chrysanthemum motif in the design and was inspired by the Chinese film Curse of the Golden Flower written and directed by Zhang Yimou and released in 2006.


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