This silk jacket, hand-embroidered in silk, was purchased in Shanghai in the early ’30s by Emma Lee Berle, whose husband was a U.S. Army medical officer. It is approximately a size 0 or 2 .
According to Man-U Import News: Fall 1997, “The art of embroidery probably originated in China about 4,000 years ago. Embroidery was used to decorate early religious and official costumes….The Chinese use symbols and conventional designs, featuring plants, fruit, birds, flowers and other forms of nature.”
There is a very fine treatment of the subject at The Development of Embroidery Throughout Chinese History.