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Pillow End

ca. 1880 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This embroidered woollen circle is one of a pair produced to be sewn at each end of a soft cylindrical pillow, the needlework providing stiffness and body. The upper end bears the Chinese character for long life, while the bottom one bears that of happiness. Five bats encircle each character; these represent the five blessings of long life, riches, health, love of virtue and a natural death. Long-life symbols and mandarin ducks were popular motifs on such objects, paired mandarin ducks signifying a wish for a happy marriage.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Wool, embroidered with coloured silks and metal thread
Brief Description
Tex, Korea, embroidery
Physical Description
The embroidered design consists of the Chinese character for 'Happiness' surrounded by a band of five bats and a further band of key fret pattern.



Colour: Multi-coloured



These were sewn to the ends of a pillow. The characters "壽"(su), meaning longevity, and "福"(bok), meaning luck, surrounded by five bats symbolizing good fortune are embroidered on cotton flannel. Cotton flannel started to be imported during the reign of King Gojong for the use of the royal family and wealthy people.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 21.5cm
Style
Credit line
Given by Thomas Watters Esq.
Summary
This embroidered woollen circle is one of a pair produced to be sewn at each end of a soft cylindrical pillow, the needlework providing stiffness and body. The upper end bears the Chinese character for long life, while the bottom one bears that of happiness. Five bats encircle each character; these represent the five blessings of long life, riches, health, love of virtue and a natural death. Long-life symbols and mandarin ducks were popular motifs on such objects, paired mandarin ducks signifying a wish for a happy marriage.
Bibliographic References
  • Liz Wilkinson.
  • Birds, Bats & Butterflies in Korean Art.
  • London: Sun Tree Publishing, Singapore,
  • 1996.
  • 3637.
  • National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage. Daejeon: National Research Institue of Cultural Heritage, 2013, p. 294.
Collection
Accession Number
1850A-1888

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record createdFebruary 3, 2000
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