What makes a set of Qun Gua (裙褂) exquisite?
The answer is GOLD EMBROIDERY. Following the auspicious design drawn on the Qun Gua (裙褂), the Master will embroider the gold and silver gilt threads on the red fabric using a second thread in creating different hues of the patterns. The whole process is time-consuming and labor-intensive, adding to the cost of the dress.
The value of Qun Gua (裙褂) goes beyond its price tag, as it represents the rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship of traditional Chinese embroidery.
This artistic work has even been listed as one of the INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE in China.
However, with the advancement of technology and the decreasing number of Master embroiderers, gold embroidery has slowly been replaced with other techniques such as beads ironing/threading or machinery embroidery. While these techniques may be more efficient and cost-effective, they lack the same level of artistry and cultural significance as gold embroidery.
Gold embroidery (“Gong Xiu” imperial embroidery techniques) originated during the Yongzhen reign of the Tang dynasty (805-806). Until the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), the production of the traditional Chinese costume, which the Han women wore on the occasion of weddings and the big days, reached its peak in Qing Dynasty. In 1957, many pieces of dresses with gold embroidery were found in the tomb built for Dai Jin and his wife in Zhengde reign of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). These dresses were the earliest historical remains of their kind ever found in Guangzhou.
The preservation of traditional Chinese embroidery techniques is crucial to maintaining the Chinese art and cultural heritage and ensuring that future generations can appreciate the beauty of this craftsmanship.