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Qing Dynasty

During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) silk embroidery reached its peak of development. Products folk embroidery has become more diverse, embroidered clothing, theatrical costumes, blankets, pillows, shoes, handbags, etc. Embroidery became fashionable among the common people. The other kind of needlework, "embroidery – pattern" was seen as an exquisite collectible. In the early 20th century under the influence of Western culture Suzhou embroidery masters began to look and make innovations in their work. Shen Yunchzhi (1874-1921) has integrated some of the effects of oil portraits in their embroidery and created a new style called "realistic embroidery." In 1904, Shen performed eight pieces of embroidery for the Empress Dowager Cixi as her 70th birthday.

Cixi was so delighted that she wrote to Shen and her husband two characters – Shou (longevity) and Fu (happiness) as a wish to thanks. Later on, her "Portrait of Queen of Italy" was sent to Italy as a national gift and a sensation there. In 1915, "Portrait of Jesus' work of Shen won first prize in Panama-Pacific Exhibition in the U.S. and was valued at $ 13,000, which was a fortune in those days! "A realistic embroidery" Shen received the recognition it deserves in China and abroad. The efforts were Yunchzhi Shen base of educational institutions, associations and trade unions of embroidery in Suzhou, Nantong, Changshu and Danyang. Works of her contemporaries, Hua Ji, Wang Shaomin, Li Peyfu and others, won prizes at many international exhibitions.

In the early 30s a new style of silk embroidery, named "random stitch" was created by Yang Shouyuy, dean of professional embroidery girl's school Chzhentsze in Danyang, Jiangsu Province. As its name implies, this style uses stitches of different lengths and directions of random overlapping layers to achieve a better effect of tone and depth of the work. This marked the beginning of a new era the development of Suzhou embroidery. A center of study and development of this ancient art was founded in 1957 by the State Scientific-Research Institute of embroidery, which are collected in the museum masterpieces from different eras. Silk embroidery fame brought her finesse, elegance and beauty. In addition to the traditional unilateral and bilateral embroidery (embroidered image on both sides look exactly the same – it must be placed on surface), silk embroidery and includes many other types of needle, such as brocade embroidery, embroidery, hair, hub, etc. The works participating in exhibitions around the world and art lovers can admire the beauty of and refinement created by master craftsmen and proud acquired masterpieces.