Irene’s Sho Chiku Bai

Delving into the detail of one of Irene Burton’s awesome embroideries. The technique is traditional Japanese embroidery and it’s stitched with silk threads on silk fabric. Irene worked under the tuition of accredited Japanese embroidery teachers to create this piece.

Sho Chiku Bai

I was curious about the word ‘shochikubai’ so I googled it to see what came up.

Well if you use it as a whole word then it’s the brand of a famous Japanese sake. Nothing wrong with a good sake but the inspiration for an embroidery design?……mmmm maybe not.

But if you spell it Sho Chiku Bai then it means Pine, Bamboo and Plum which are the legendary ‘friends of winter’ in both Chinese and Japanese art.

The embroidery design that Irene has stitched comes from the Japanese Design Centre and incorporates these three symbols.

Japanese embroidery
Japanese embroidery

I just love the delicacy and gentle beauty of this horizontal element of sky and cloud which balances the verticality of the botanical design…..definitely a cool example of ‘less is more’…..

Japanese embroidery

The next photo shows a vignette of the three symbols.

Japanese embroidery

The pine/Sho is evergreen through Winter and is the symbol of  inner strength, resilience and permanence.

While the bamboo/Chiku is the symbol of longevity.

The plum blossom/Bai symbolises beauty and optimism in the face of adversity.

Here’s some more eye candy for you….

Japanese embroidery

There are more photos of the detail in the gallery.



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