Article ID: CBB001214318

Gender, Technical Innovation, and Gu Family Embroidery in Late-Ming Shanghai (2012)


Huang, I-Fen (Author)

East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine
Volume: 36
Pages: 131--166

Publication Date: 2012
Edition Details: Part of a special issue, “Women and Textile Production Techniques in Traditional China”
Language: English

This paper takes Gu Family embroidery as a case study to discuss the contribution of technical innovation to the construction of gender in late imperial China so as to better understand Guxiu in its technical, social, and artistic contexts. Focusing on the Flowers and Fishes album (dated 1641, Shanghai Museum) by Han Ximeng, I argue that Gu family ladies, such as Han Ximeng, used embroidery as a means to display their individual creativity; and, further, by means of technical innovations, contributed not only to their family finances but also to the art and culture of late Ming Shanghai. While some of the technical innovations that the Gu family ladies achieved were driven by the desire to meet the literati aesthetic of their time, eventually, in the case of Han Ximeng, she went beyond the literati taste for `painting-like' embroidery to assert the special qualities of embroidery. By affirming her own authorship, drawing attention to the feminine medium in which she worked and claiming the significance of her work with a carefully chosen subject, Han subverted the conventions of male painting in subtle ways and demonstrated her subjectivity.

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Article Sheng, Angela (2012) Women's Work, Virtue, and Space: Change from Early to Late Imperial China. East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine (p. 9). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Liang, Bo
Zhai, Wen-bao
Misa, T.
Martin, Michèle
Wosk, Julie
Mohun, Arwen P.
Technology and Culture
East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine
IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
Zhongguo Keji Shiliao (China Historical Materials of Science and Technology)
Ziran Kexueshi Yanjiu (Studies in the History of Natural Sciences)
McGill-Queen's University Press
Fort Schuyler Press
Archives contemporaines
Akademika Publishing
University of Minnesota
Technology and gender
Women and technology
Women and Work
Technological innovation
Crafts and craftspeople
History of Computing
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
21st century
Qing dynasty (China, 1644-1912)
United States
Shanghai (China)
Great Britain
Shanghai Science Institute

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