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Embroidery

Embroidery is the art of stitching ornamental designs in threads of cotton, silk, gold, or silver upon a woven fabric. Archaeological evidence indicates that human populations began widely trading embroidered goods as early as the 5th century B.C. Trade not only exposed important differences in the style and cultural meaning of embroidery, but also resulted in the migration and fusion of stitching techniques and imagery. For example, embroideries produced in Russia in the 1st century B.C. reveal influence from China, particularly Chinese chain- stitching techniques and representations of dragons.

In Medieval Europe, royalty often commissioned embroiderers to create monumental pieces commemorating their rule. Around 1080, English embroiderers, possibly nuns at Canterbury Cathedral, created the Bayeux Tapestry to illustrate William the Conqueror’s successful conquest of England. During the Renaissance, Netherlandish embroidery was highly sought after and collected by notable European figures including Henry VIII of England and Pope Leo X of Italy.

Developments during the 19th and 20th centuries led to the commercialization of embroidery, as well as greater interest in applying techniques used in fine and graphic art. Since the '50s, there has been a renewed appreciation for the craftsmanship and delicate skill required to produce intricately-embroidered works. Collectors of embroidery will find a rich assortment of unique pieces available at auction from across the world.


Quick Facts

  • On November 26, 2014, Christie’s Hong Kong sold an imperial embroidered silk thangka for $45,142,597
  • In Muslim cities such as Damascus, Cairo, and Istanbul, embroidery was a sign of elevated social status. Those who could afford embroidered textiles displayed their wealth by wearing embroidered tunics, robes, shoes, slippers, leather belts, and handkerchiefs
  • Today, embroidery software allows machines to stitch digitized patterns onto fabric

Recommended Items at Auction

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Frame Oriental Silk Embroidery Panel
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Frame Oriental Silk Embroidery Panel
by Gulfcoast Coin and Jewelry
Est: $300- $400
$395 Bids
Vintage Embroidered Dachshund, 14 X 14
Mar 05, 12:00 PM EST
Vintage Embroidered Dachshund, 14 X 14
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$94 Bids
LOT OF ASIAN MISC EMBROIDERED SILK TEXTILE PIECES
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
LOT OF ASIAN MISC EMBROIDERED SILK TEXTILE PIECES
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$702 Bids
EMBROIDERED LINENS
Mar 04, 6:00 PM EST
EMBROIDERED LINENS
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$102 Bids
Chris Roberts-Antieau, embroidered cloth, 2015
Mar 06, 10:00 AM EST
Chris Roberts-Antieau, embroidered cloth, 2015
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $600- $800
$4502 Bids
Collection of Katawaz Beaded Embroidered Silk Square Dowry Pieces
Mar 05, 10:00 AM EST
Collection of Katawaz Beaded Embroidered Silk Square Dowry Pieces
by Weschler's
Est: $30- $50
$202 Bids
Chris Roberts Antieau Artist Folk Art
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
Chris Roberts Antieau Artist Folk Art
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$501 Bid
A Job Lot Three of 20th C Embroideries, Flowers, 25 x 25, 15 x 20 & 15 x 15
Mar 04, 7:00 PM SAST
A Job Lot Three of 20th C Embroideries, Flowers, 25 x 25, 15 x 20 & 15 x 15
by 5th Avenue Auctioneers
Est: R200- R300
R2001 Bid
Louise Bourgeois, French 1911-2010, - Untitled (I Have Been to Hell and Back) (blue), 2007;
Mar 05, 10:00 AM GMT
Louise Bourgeois, French 1911-2010, - Untitled (I Have Been to Hell and Back) (blue), 2007;
by Roseberys
Est: £2,000- £3,000
£6501 Bid
A Job Lot Five of 20th C Embroideries, Figures & Flowers, 23 x 11 (1), 15 x 11 (4)
Mar 04, 7:00 PM SAST
A Job Lot Five of 20th C Embroideries, Figures & Flowers, 23 x 11 (1), 15 x 11 (4)
by 5th Avenue Auctioneers
Est: R200- R300
R2001 Bid
Set of Five Continental Silk and Wool Embroidered Chair Covers, Possibly Macau
Mar 06, 10:00 AM EST
Set of Five Continental Silk and Wool Embroidered Chair Covers, Possibly Macau
by STAIR
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
Three Central Asian Embroidered Wall Hangings and One Pillow Cover
Mar 05, 10:00 AM EST
Three Central Asian Embroidered Wall Hangings and One Pillow Cover
by Weschler's
Est: $50- $100
$251 Bid
Vintage Cotton and Linen Embroidered Tablecloths and Napkins
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
Vintage Cotton and Linen Embroidered Tablecloths and Napkins
by Gray's Auctioneers
Est: $80- $120
$400 Bids
XL 7ft x 3ft Embroidered Asian Silk Textile Panel
Mar 20, 10:00 AM EDT
XL 7ft x 3ft Embroidered Asian Silk Textile Panel
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $100- $200
$10 Bids
Tracey Emin (b.1963) Be Faithful To Your Dreams
Mar 12, 1:00 PM GMT
Tracey Emin (b.1963) Be Faithful To Your Dreams
by Forum Auctions - UK
Est: £1,000- £1,500
£9000 Bids
THREE WHITE EMBROIDERED TABLE CLOTHS with three sets of napkins.
Mar 06, 10:30 AM GMT
THREE WHITE EMBROIDERED TABLE CLOTHS with three sets of napkins.
by John Nicholson's Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: £150- £200
£1300 Bids
OGGETTISTICA
Mar 06, 10:30 AM CET
OGGETTISTICA
by Aste Boetto SRL
Est: €200- €250
€2000 Bids
EMBROIDERED PANEL
Mar 06, 10:00 AM GMT
EMBROIDERED PANEL
by Sheppards
Est: €80- €120
€450 Bids
EMBROIDERED PANEL
Mar 05, 10:00 AM GMT
EMBROIDERED PANEL
by Sheppards
Est: €50- €80
€300 Bids
EMBROIDERED PANEL
Mar 05, 10:00 AM GMT
EMBROIDERED PANEL
by Sheppards
Est: €50- €80
€300 Bids
PAIR EDWARDIAN EMBROIDERED PANELS
Mar 06, 10:00 AM GMT
PAIR EDWARDIAN EMBROIDERED PANELS
by Sheppards
Est: €150- €250
€900 Bids
Lotto di paramenti sacri e stoffe Lot of sacred vestments and fabrics
Mar 13, 6:30 PM CET
Lotto di paramenti sacri e stoffe Lot of sacred vestments and fabrics
by Galleria Sarno
Est: €400- €500
€2400 Bids
San Francesco d'Assisi
Mar 16, 6:30 PM CET
San Francesco d'Assisi
by Galleria Sarno
Est: €200- €300
€1500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Embroidery


Sworders

Sworders

Sheppards

Sheppards

Corte Real, Leiloeira

Corte Real, Leiloeira

The Bidder

The Bidder