蘇繡  Suxiu (Suzhou embroidery) 

所屬名錄: 第一批國家級名錄

編號: VII - 18

申報地區或單位: 江蘇省蘇州市

Inscribed list: National List, First Batch

Inventory no.: VII - 18

Nominating unit(s): Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province

蘇繡是指蘇州刺繡,主要指在蘇州、無錫和揚州等地的傳統刺繡。而蘇州刺繡為當中最早且發展得最興盛的一種,幾乎代表整個江蘇刺繡。蘇繡以其細膩的手工與精緻的針法聞名,並與湘繡、粵繡和蜀繡並稱為中國四大名繡。

 

關於蘇繡的起源並不明確。現時留存的最早蘇繡實物來自宋代,有典籍記載在春秋時期吳國一帶,即今日江蘇省南部地區亦有「繡衣而豹裘者」之景象。而三國時期吳國孫權的趙夫人曾被記載擅長刺繡,時人稱之「針絕」。這些記錄提供了我們探討蘇繡歷史的資料。如果這些記載皆為真確,則蘇繡便已出現至少二千年之久。關於蘇繡的技術與發展,根據元代留下的殘片,我們知道元朝蘇繡已有九種針法;而在明代蘇繡作品多以文人畫為原稿,並由此產生精細雅潔的風格,有說當時蘇州一帶刺繡相當普遍,有「家家養蠶,戶戶刺繡」的景象;到了清代,刺繡發展愈趨成熟,更出現「雙面繡」技術,蘇州在清朝亦被稱為「繡市」。清末時,更有沈壽創「仿真繡」,作品多次被作為國禮贈予外國元首。

目前蘇繡可分三大譜系,一為傳統細繡、二為清末沈壽創的「仿真繡」、三為清末楊守玉所創的「亂針繡」。這三大譜系都是現時有明確傳人及影響力的蘇繡流派。沈壽所創的「仿真繡」,主要以繡人物為主,借鑑了西洋畫人物肖像及風景畫的特色,使繡出來的圖案更為逼真,展現了光影色彩對比,與傳統蘇繡作品截然不同。而楊守玉所創的「亂針繡」的特點在於突破傳統蘇繡的同方向排列的針法,改為每針長短不一,互相交錯,再加上受「仿真繡」影響,「亂針繡」善用分層等手法,展現豐富的色彩及層次分明的立體感。這兩流派都融合了西方繪畫的一些特色,使蘇繡的題材與技法得到更多突破與創新。

 

蘇繡自明清以後發展迅速,雖民間戰亂時曾經一度衰敗,但後來得到了重視。在清末的沈壽曾口述《雪宦繡譜》,以總結刺繡經驗,對保存蘇繡技藝作出貢獻。1957年,蘇州刺繡研究所成立,為培養及聚集蘇繡人才提供不可缺少的優良環境。1986年,中國蘇繡博物館在環秀山莊建立,比隣蘇州刺繡研究所,1988年遷自王鏊祠內,內有展示明清時期到近現代的蘇繡作品,讓人們對蘇繡有更多認識。

 

在2006年時蘇繡先是被列入為第一批國家級非物質文化遺產名錄,2007年李娥瑛和顧文霞被確定為蘇繡的代表性傳承人,列入第一批國家級非物質文化遺產項目代表性傳承人名單中。不過有不少人認為,現代社會與科技發展等挑戰或許使蘇繡工藝未來的傳承帶來隱藏危機。

Suxiu means “embroidery of Suzhou,” and is one of the four major styles of Chiense silk embroidery. To be more specific, Suxiu represents the traditional embroidery of Suzhou and the surrounding cities in Jiangsu Province. Being the most famous and developed of embroidery styles in Jiangsu, it has come to represent Jiangsu embroidery as a whole. Suxiu is famous for its subtle and refined needlework, with balanced compositions and dense stitching.

 

The origins of Suxiu is unclear but the earliest example of Suxiu was proved to be from the Song dynasty.  The earliest historical record for embroidery is from the Spring and Autumn period, which mentions embroidered clothing in the Wu Kingdom area, which is present-day Suzhou. Lady Zhao, one of the wives of Sun Quan, the founder of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period, was also renowned for her embroidery skills. If all these historical records are true, the history of embroidery may be as long as two thousand years. By studying the remaining pieces of embroidery from Yuan dynasty, it can be seen that there were at least nine techniques for Suxiu from that time period. In Ming dynasty, people liked to use literati painting as the source material for Suxiu art. The saying of 「家家養蠶,戶戶刺繡」, meaning that every family was involved in sericulture, and every home in embroidery, indicates the prevalence and popularity of Suxiu in Suzhou at that time. By the Qing dynasty, Suxiu was a mature and developed art.  Double-sided Su embroidery started to appear in this period. Suzhou was also renowned as ‘Xiushi’ which means the city of embroidery. In the late Qing period, the master embroiderer Shen Shou (沈壽)’s work so impressed the Empreess Dowager Cixi that she was placed in multiple capacities in charge of embroidery within the Qing government. Her pieces have been referred to as “lifelike embroidery” (Fang Zhen Xiu,仿真繡) due to their resemblance to paintings, and some of her pieces were given as gifts to the Heads of foreign states and won several international awards.

 

There are mainly three styles of Suxiu today: traditional fine embroidery (Xixiu,細繡); the “lifelike embroidery” (Fang Zhen Xiu,仿真繡) style founded by Shen Shou; and crisscross stitch embroidery (Luan Zhen Xiu,亂針繡) founded by Yang Shouyu. The lifelike embroidery founded by Shen Shou mostly features people as the subject matter, adopting the portraiture and landscape painting techniques from western art, differentiating it from traditional Suxiu. The crisscross stitch style embroidery founded by Yang Shouyu is based on intricate cross stiches, and is influenced by the lifelike embroidery style, thus also reflecting characteristics of western art.

 

After the Ming and Qing dynasties Suxiu developed rapidly, and although it saw a decline in popularity during the chaos of conflict in the early 20th century, it has since been recognized for its value. In the late Qing dynasty, Shen Shou dictated a book, Principles and Stitching of Chinese Embroidery (Xue Huan Xiu Pu,雪宦繡譜), that recorded the skills and knowledge she gained from her 40 years of artistic practice, and is now considered an essential volume in studying embroidery. In 1957, the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute was established, located in the Mountain Villa of Secluded Beauty in Suzhou. The Institute has helped to train thousands of embroidery masters and specialists through these years, ensuring the preservation of Suxiu.  The Suzhou Embroidery Museum was later established in 1986, situated near the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute, but relocated to the Wang Ao’s Ancestral Temple.  The Museum houses Suxiu masterpieces from the Ming and Qing dynasties.  

In 2006, Suxiu was included on the First Batch of the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of China and one year later, Ms. Li Eying and Ms. Gu Wenxia were named as the representative inheritors of Suxiu.

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