Pair of embroidered sleeve bands with peacocks and floral motifs.

China

Date: 19th or early 20th century

Origin: China

Dimensions: H 95cm x W 62cm

Venue: Gawthorpe Textiles Collection

Sleeve bands were decorative cuffs and would have decorated the bottom edges of the sleeves on a traditional robe. They often featured designs that were a near perfect mirror image of one another so that when the hands were clasped in front of the body and tucked slightly into the opposite sleeve, the designs would line up perfectly. Highly decorative sleeve bands were popular with European collectors and tourists; their size and dimensions made them easy to transport home and the rectangular panels lent themselves to being framed or mounted for display.  

This pair are embroidered in fine silk floss and couched metal thread on a background of yellow silk satin. Most of the embroidery is worked in flat areas of satin stitch but the illusion of more intricate shading is created through a combination of the lustrous quality of the silk thread being and great technical skill of the embroiderer. Each stitch has been carefully placed so that as light hits the thread at slightly different angles it gives the effect of several shades of the same colour. This can be seen most obviously on the dark blue sections of this design, which look as if they are worked in several shades of blue but in fact use a single shade of thread throughout. 

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