All the colours and motifs of this work are symbolic. The use of pink indicates a desire for further generations to be born. The contrast between the black and the red silk base cloths shows a passion for life and romance. Green reflects the dependence and integration of the people with nature. The motifs used symbolise their hopes for the future. The depiction of two children indicates the desire for more children, while the use of the gourd, flute, sword and fan which are treasures of the ‘Eight Immortals’ (a part of their myths and legends) are seen as good omens for their children’s future lives.
The technical and artistic skills of the embroiderer are obvious in this rare and unique piece. The geometry of the work is very regular with the use of rhombus and triangles yet the free flowing embroidery style gives it an artistic fluency that softens and enlivens the overall effect. Using both silk and bu (hand woven cotton) for the base cloth is indicative of the Dong style which seamlessly integrates the humble with the elegant. The embroidery is bursting with significant motifs and a rich colour palette that makes this work exceptional and one of the finest examples you will find of this period.