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Framed Chinese Embroidery Southern Bridal Jacket

About the Item

A framed vintage Chinese embroidered bridal jacket called "Gua", which is the upper part of the two-piece wedding assemble called "Qun Gua", with the lower part being Qun (skirt). Originated in the 18th century in Qing Dynasty and worn by Han Chinese brides, it has gradually become an established tradition in Southern China such as Canton and still persists in the traditional wedding ceremony in Hongkong and Macau nowadays. In the beginning, the jacket was black, and the skirt was red. It was not until 1960s when the jacket became red as well, therefore this jacket cannot predate 1960. It is likely circa 1970-80s. On the red silk background, the jacket is covered profusely with fine embroidery work of opulent designs, using gold and silver metallic threads as well as silk threads of other colors. Known as "LongFeng Gua" (Dragon and Phoenix Jacket), the front breast panels feature dragons and phoenix in pair. A small pair is also on display on the collar. Another pair of phoenix graces the sleeves. The borders along the central closure, bottom edge and the sleeve openings are further covered with floral pattern anchored by large peony blooms. Closer inspection reveals that the splendid design was achieved by hands using two painstaking techniques. Most parts were done in couching stich in which metallic threads were pinned down by thinner threads in red and green to create a subtle color shifting visually. The body of the dragons and phoenix were done with built-up chain stitches to render a relief effect and to mimic the feathered and scaled textures. The eyes of the dragon and phoenix were raised with filling and highlighted with black satin stiches. It was most likely a costly custom piece embroidered by hand, equivalent to the western concept of couture in that sense. The size of the jacket as displayed is 25.5" H x 44" W. It is framed on a black felt like background with a subtle mottled pattern and black carved wood frame. The contrast makes the red jacket very striking visually.
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 37.5 in (95.25 cm)Width: 55.5 in (140.97 cm)Depth: 2 in (5.08 cm)
  • Style:
    Chinese Export (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques:
    Glass,Silk,Wood,Embroidered
  • Place of Origin:
  • Period:
  • Date of Manufacture:
    Post 1960s
  • Condition:
    Wear consistent with age and use. Fine condition with minor wear in keeping with the age and nature of the material. Not examined out of the frame. Wood frame has minor handling wear and small touched up chips in one corner.
  • Seller Location:
    Atlanta, GA
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU945030234652
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