Original: XU Yang (Qing Dynasty)
Embroidery: Suzhou Embroidery Museum
Produced by the court painter of the Qing Dynasty, XU Yang, >Flourishing City of Gusu was formerly known as Burgeoning Life in a Resplendent Age (Shengshi zisheng tu). On a long scroll and through the method of Scatter Perspective, it depicts the folk life in Suzhou back then, when “merchants converged and stores clustered,” as a tribute to the Qianlong Emperor in praise of the prosperity under His Majesty’s reign.
The embroidery begins with green trees and mountains as well as architectures here and there. One temple is inserted amidst the woods and one flag is erected spreading wide. The characters “Long Live the Emperor” were embroidered on the flag. Though the flag occupies an extremely small area on the embroidery, the characters are legible, manifesting the extraordinary artisanship of subtle embroidery.
There are over 50 bridges of different kinds, nearly 400 boats and rafts, over 260 shops, and more than 12,000 figures on the embroidery. The artisan employed over a dozen techniques like the Loose Trocar and Virtual and Real Stitch as well as over 500 colored threads to embroider the piece meticulously, presenting completely the urban landscape of the ancient city Gusu in the original work.