While the precise time when embroidery began is unknown, some artifacts and texts provide hints on just how ancient embroidery as an art is. Some historians believe that Chinese thread embroidery, dating as far in history as 3500 BC, is the precursor of modern-day embroidery. There are samples, such as an embroidered gauze from Zhou era which was in existence between 1045BC to 246BC in China that are still in survival: these show what could be the origin of embroidery.
Archaeological finds have uncovered other artifacts: they comprise paintings, vases, and sculptures that equally show embroidery to have existed more than 3000 years ago in various civilizations. Mosaics from Byzantium, an ancient Greek city, show scenes where folks at the time are clothed in clothing embroidered with precious stones, silk thread, and pearls. In the year 1544, an excavation in Iraq uncovered a woven shroud embossed with a purely gold thread embroidery. The embroidery was done with a lot of meticulousness and was dating back to the 400AD.
These artifacts, discovered in different places of the earth, show that many ancient cultures such as the Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Persian,M Baroque European, and the Greek, held embroidered clothing as one of the hallmarks of success and prestige.
From one generation to the other, the styles for creating the vast number of sutures have been handed down, and improved by succeeding posterities. The art grew in popularity, being more prevalent in some eras than others. For example, in medieval England, it was much more vogue than in any other period. In that time, embroidery was also utilized in the recording of defining historical events. For example, the Norman Invasion and Battle of Hastings are indelibly inscribed on fabric, often called the Bayeux Tapestry, a 231-foot long embroidery masterpiece.
At the turn of 15th Century, AD, embroideries were more lavish in the whole of Europe- and, in fact, the remainder of the world. By the turn of 1700, bead adornment could be spotted on court dresses, layette baskets, home furnishings as well as many other articles.
The Industrial Revolution happening in the 19th century signaled an epoch of innovation and with it, the Berlin Wool Work. The Berlin wool embroidery work is a sort-of 3D canvas thread embroidery that is done by petit point stitches. The styles for Berlin work designs were most often published on one sheet; thus, were affordable by the average stitcher. This resulted in a very popular craft as most women could now devote their time to needle crafts.
The arrival of The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine’ in 1851 helped the craft further by disseminating information about the revolutionary Berlin wool design. Counted cross stitch and art needlework styles replaced the Berlin wool work in the 1870s. Art needlework was reminiscent of English style so common in the middle ages.
The art continued to evolve further, and today much of it is executed by machines. Machine embroidery is employed to introduce logos, emblems, and monograms onto mass-produced items such as jackets, uniforms, and shirts. Machine embroidery is very popular in modern times that folks choose to relate the term ’embroidery’ with the modern machine creations rather than the ancient freehand embroidery.