School of Design

ULITA - an Archive of International Textiles

apron
Date: late 19th century
Dimensions: 64.5 x 46.5 cm (25 3/8 x 18 5/16 in.)
Medium: silk
Made in: China
Description: This curtain was probably designed to cover the window of a sedan chair. This item is comprised of a main panel of red silk satin, an upper panel of turquoise coloured silk satin and two hanging ribbons of black silk satin. The smaller turquoise upper panel overlaps the red, with the ribbons sandwiched between and visible hanging over the main panel. They are joined together at the top. The patterning theme on the main panel is a qilin carrying a boy. This is symbolic of a promising future for a child’s career. The boy on the qilin depicted here is holding a halberd (another symbol of rank) with his left hand and a twig of osmanthus flowers (a symbol of nobility) in his right. Another boy is carrying a large peach, a symbol of longevity. Other related auspicious motifs which are included are the peony, the plum blossom and the bat. The patterning of the upper panel is composed of lotuses, a bat carrying a ruyi, and a bat carrying a pair of coins. The main stitching technique used is satin stitching. Long and short stitches are used for the boys face and clothes. Some seed stitches are used for the flower stamens, and a few metallic threads are used in couching stitches on the saddle. The ground fabric is red silk satin and the back lining is plain woven cotton fabric.
Inv. No.: 36
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