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Finding Herbs

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Period: Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: Embroidery of the Gu family
Format: hanging scroll

Dimensions: h: 123 cm, w: 45 cm

Typical of the embroideries of the Gu family, this work combines colored paint with polychrome embroidery against natural-color silk. Mountains are shrouded by white clouds. A crane rests on the branch of a pine tree under which two hermits are chatting while watching a page pick a lingzhi fungus. In creating the embroidery, the artisan used several kinds of stitches, such as "batched stitch" (tao zhen), "net stitch" (wang zhen), "knot stitch" (dazi zhen), "hen feather stitch" (jimao zhen), and "slanting twisted stitch" (xiechan zhen). Ink and colors are applied to the deer, mountain rocks, and leaves. At the top of the embroidery, a poetic inscription is written in ink. It reads: Taught the secrets of long life, Long way into deep mountains of green; Picking the fungus, clouds tinge the sleeves, Finding the herbs, mist drenches the clothes. Following the inscription three vermilion seals are embroidered. They read "Studio of treasure trove" (Jubao zhai), "Garden of fragrant dewdrop" (Luxiang yuan) and "tiger head" (hu tou).

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