The Dragon – a silk painted Art Quilt

August 30, 2008

This fits into the theme – doesn’t it? Although the Olympic Games are an old hat in the meanwhile there might be some more people interested in Asian or rather Asian inspired art – or not? At least there are probably much more travellers to China nowadays than 10 years ago when I was able to travel to the southern regions of this huge country. At that point it was still quite an adventure.

What has changed through the Olympic Games? I am not sure whether there really has. People are still punished for their criticism of politics, human rights etc. Freedom of speech is still not possible without the danger of being arrested or at least major reprisals especially not for people living in this huge country. Foreigners are either arrested depending on the severeness of their “crime” or have to leave the country if they interact with dissidents or do not behave as required by the officials.

The dream has not come true. Not yet.

China is moving and there are changes. Maybe we are too impatient with a country that has been enclosed for so many centuries. You cannot speed up evolution – it takes time. What happens when a people from one country tries to force a people from another country to accept their values even if it happens with the best intent  you can see in several regions of this world.  Any change has to evolve from within – not from the outside. Let them evolve with their pace not with ours!

China has so much to offer. A culture that can look back on several thousands of years. How many countries do have such treasures? You can say what you want about China’s politics and environmental (mis-)behaviour and a couple of other problematic issues but you cannot deny its incredible cultural and natural assets which need to be preserved for the entire humankind. And above all stands one symbol: the dragon

“Dragon”
50″ x 70″, silk

The dragon always has been a symbol for luck and prosperity.

You will find dragon sculptures everywhere in China in front of larger buildings, private houses and at the entrances of the temples. It is a protective symbol against malevolent spirits and maybe against bad people? You can find the motif on dishes, pottery and bronzes, on clothes, on greeting cards (I bought some nice birthday cards in red with golden dragons in Hongkong), simply everywhere in daily life..

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I like dragons and I like far better the Asian interpretation of the motif than the western one. In western countries the dragon has always been a menacing symbol, a symbol of the evil that needs to be destroyed. The whole western myths and tales are talking about killing the dragon who eats people and literally spits fire.
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I have always been fascinated by dragon figures especially as bronzes and in paintings. Therefore I decided to paint this quilt in the same colours as traditional Chinese ink paintings: mainly black and white.
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You can see from the photos above and below how detailed the graphic elements and the stitching are.
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In order to apply more depth to this image the scales of the dragon have been painted in different hues and shadows. The relief that is created by the stitching (especially on silk) adds to the impression of depth and a 3-dimensional feel.


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In the photos below you can see the back of the quilt and the stitching in detail. I have used a rayon fabric for the back which is smooth and soft and does not stiffen the silk on top which is important in order to create a nice stitching relief. Last photo shows the sleeve on the back which is necessary in order to be able to hang the quilt on the wall.
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Btw – the paints are absolutely water fast. The quilt could be washed if necessary one day…
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One Response to “The Dragon – a silk painted Art Quilt”


  1. Amazing silk art!…
    As a fellow artist who has done a fair amount of silk paintings in my time I can more then appreciate the wonderful skill that went into those works of art you have shown here.


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