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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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New Hampshire silk and chenille embroidery
Oct 07, 9:00 AM EDT
New Hampshire silk and chenille embroidery
by Pook & Pook Inc.
Est: $300- $500
$1,70015 Bids
VINTAGE EMBROIDERED LINEN GROUP
Oct 25, 9:00 AM CDT
VINTAGE EMBROIDERED LINEN GROUP
by Jackson's International
Est: $10- $20
$101 Bid
Large Vintage Hand Embroidered Cross Stitch Christmas Tablecloth
Oct 10, 11:00 AM EDT
Large Vintage Hand Embroidered Cross Stitch Christmas Tablecloth
by Denise Ryan Auction Co.
Est: $25- $500
$101 Bid
FRAMED EMBROIDERED FABRIC COLLAGE, MEXICO
Oct 15, 10:00 AM CDT
FRAMED EMBROIDERED FABRIC COLLAGE, MEXICO
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $80- $150
$501 Bid
Two Pairs of Embroidered Linen Curtain Panels
Oct 06, 11:00 AM EDT
Two Pairs of Embroidered Linen Curtain Panels
by Stair
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
Centennial Embroidery
Oct 08, 9:00 AM EDT
Centennial Embroidery
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$51 Bid
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Assorted Embroidered & Printed Textiles & Linens
Oct 18, 10:00 AM EDT
Assorted Embroidered & Printed Textiles & Linens
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $25- $50
$101 Bid
Pair of English Wool and Silkwork Embroidered Landscapes
Oct 06, 11:00 AM EDT
Pair of English Wool and Silkwork Embroidered Landscapes
by Stair
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
A 19TH CENTURY SUZANI EMBROIDERED WALL HANGING
Oct 20, 2:00 PM BST
A 19TH CENTURY SUZANI EMBROIDERED WALL HANGING
by Curated Auctions
Est: £1,000- £1,500
£1,0001 Bid
Antique Asian Floral Embroidery Art
Oct 09, 10:00 AM MST
Antique Asian Floral Embroidery Art
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Prächtiges Altartuch
Oct 15, 10:00 AM CEST
Prächtiges Altartuch
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €120- €180
€1201 Bid
Ancient priestly planet, XVIII century
Oct 08, 4:00 PM CEST
Ancient priestly planet, XVIII century
by ArtLaRosa
Est: €0- €0
€6000 Bids
Ancient priestly planet, 17th century
Oct 08, 4:00 PM CEST
Ancient priestly planet, 17th century
by ArtLaRosa
Est: €0- €0
€6000 Bids
A Vintage Coral Pink Satin Bedcover embroidered in silks with sprays of pink flowers and appliquéd w
Oct 09, 11:00 AM BST
A Vintage Coral Pink Satin Bedcover embroidered in silks with sprays of pink flowers and appliquéd w
by Wilkinson's Auctioneers
Est: £30- £60
£200 Bids
A Long Embroidery Pelmet. The celestial blue velvet run having a decoratively cut lower edge trimme
Oct 09, 11:00 AM BST
A Long Embroidery Pelmet. The celestial blue velvet run having a decoratively cut lower edge trimme
by Wilkinson's Auctioneers
Est: £300- £400
£2400 Bids
gros point wandkleed met voorstelling van middeleeuws echtpaar, dieren en florale motieven, circa 19
Oct 06, 7:00 PM CEST
gros point wandkleed met voorstelling van middeleeuws echtpaar, dieren en florale motieven, circa 19
by Veilinghuis Van Spengen
Est: €100- €150
€1000 Bids
ENGLISH, MANNER OF MORRIS & CO. ARTS & CRAFTS EMBROIDERED PANEL, DATED 1888
Oct 12, 10:00 AM BST
ENGLISH, MANNER OF MORRIS & CO. ARTS & CRAFTS EMBROIDERED PANEL, DATED 1888
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £400- £600
£2000 Bids
A Pair of 19th Century Silkwork Panels: Each embroidered in coloured silks on a black ground with a
Oct 09, 11:00 AM BST
A Pair of 19th Century Silkwork Panels: Each embroidered in coloured silks on a black ground with a
by Wilkinson's Auctioneers
Est: £80- £160
£600 Bids
A framed embroidered cotton fabric
Oct 19, 6:30 PM CEST
A framed embroidered cotton fabric
by Bayeu Subastas
Est: €100- €150
€1000 Bids
Framed Silk Asian Embroidery
Oct 12, 11:00 AM EDT
Framed Silk Asian Embroidery
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $25- $75
$100 Bids
VINTAGE EMBROIDERED AND CROCHETED COLLARS
Oct 12, 12:00 PM EDT
VINTAGE EMBROIDERED AND CROCHETED COLLARS
by Converse Auctions
Est: $10- $20
$100 Bids
Zwei schmale Seidenstickereien
Oct 08, 10:00 AM CEST
Zwei schmale Seidenstickereien
by Leo Spik
Est: €50- €60
€400 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Embroidery


Piasa

Piasa

Lyon & Turnbull

Lyon & Turnbull

Denise Ryan Auction Co.

Denise Ryan Auction Co.

Roseberys

Roseberys