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  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1820-1920 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ramie (grass cloth) with drawn threadwork border and embroidery decoration

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs E Wolstencroft

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Three identical square napkins made from naturally coloured ramie (from the family Urticacea genus Boehmeria) commonly called China grass, grass cloth or grass linen.
Each has a drawn threadwork border. Across one corner of each is a design of a dragon among clouds in double-sided embroidery executed in white thread in satin stitch and stem stitch.
Napkins curtains, handkerchiefs and other small ramie items were exported to Europe and America during the nineteenth century and probably into the twentieth century. The white on white effect and the drawn threadwork would not have been native Chinese techniques.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1820-1920 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Ramie (grass cloth) with drawn threadwork border and embroidery decoration


Height: 50.0 cm, Width: 50.0 cm

Object history note

Probably made for the Western export market. From a set of three (FE.41 to B-1983).

Registered File number 1983/1430.

Historical context note

For a ramie hankerchief brought from China to America by John Robinson Sr. in 1836 see Carl L. Crossman The China Trade Princeton (N.J.): The Pyne Press 1972, illustration 215, page 245 NAL Bibliographic number: 11.L.31

Descriptive line

Napkin, natural coloured bast fibre, from a set of three, China, 1820-1920





Subjects depicted

Clouds; Dragons


Textiles; Accessories; Embroidery


East Asia Collection

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