What is the difference between Chinese embroidery and cross-stitch? In fact, cross-stitch is a specific type of embroidery. However, it would be incorrect to say that they are the same. Embroidery is the art of decorating cloth or clothing with intricately stitched designs, and sometimes incorporates sequins, beads and other trimmings.
Many different types of stitching are used in Chinese embroidery, some of them incredibly elaborate. Cross-stitch is one such type, and Chinese cross-stitches tend to be simpler than other types of Chinese embroidery. Cross-stitch is usually done on a simple piece of material, known as an aida cloth, and because of the counted or stamped stitching methods, cross-stitch patterns tend to be highly uniform and simple in design.
Chinese embroidery has a long history and is quite elaborate. Some of the earliest surviving examples of embroideries come from China. Because of the historic silk trade in China, many Chinese embroideries were made of silk and archaeologists believe that, even by the 3rd-5th centuries BC, Chinese people had already learned to cultivate silkworms. Chinese embroidery reached its pinnacle during the 14th century, by which time several major styles had developed across the regions of China, including Song embroidery in Suzhou, Shu embroidery in Sichuan and Cloud embroidery in Nanjing.
Chinese embroidery tends to be very ornate, especially by Western standards. Like Chinese scroll paintings, Chinese embroideries often depict natural scenes of forests, mountains and birds. The colors used in these embroideries tend to be rich and opulent shades, including gold, dark blue, bright green and deep red.
One common example of Chinese embroidery is still seen today on traditional Chinese garments, shoes, handbags and other silk items, where scrawling patterns or images of mythical birds and creatures are embroidered in contrasting brightly colored threads.