Chinese embroidery on paper, designed to be purchased and transferred to clothing. 


Owned by Gladys Sym Choon. The embroidery was given to Gladys to wear for her wedding to Edward Chung Gon at St Paul's Anglican Church in Adelaide. This portion of embroidery still has the paper attached and presumably was not used. 

The embroidery was accompanied by a note wishing Gladys 'health, wealth and happiness' in her future life. The motifs featured in the embroidery reflect this, such as the peony which in Chinese embroidery is often used as a symbol for wealth and good fortune. This embroidery was intended to be worn on a garment just above the wrist.

Gladys owned The China Gift Store at No. 233A Rundle Street which opened in 1924 selling oriental goods imported from China and Hong Kong. The store was passed on to her daughter Mei Ling Niel in 1979 and closed in 1985. 


An example of Chinese embroidery, which was popular in Australia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The symbolism in Chinese embroidery reflects thousands of years of tradition. This example also demonstrates the modern practice of paper transfer, again reflecting a longer tradition of re-usable sleevebands, badges and other elements of embroidery. This example is also significant for its connection with Gladys Sym Choon, a well known Adelaide business woman, whose wedding was widely reported in Australian newspapers.

Detailed Description

Embroidered motifs on cream paper background, pasted for future removal and application onto Chinese garments or accessories. The motifs depict rose, peony, blossom and some sacred objects, worked in satin stitch, Chinese knots and gold couching. Original price of '5/6' each on front top left corner of paper. Four ink Chinese characters on reverse of paper and three blue ink stamps, one is 'Made in China'.

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Courtesy of/Photographer:Migration Museum, History SA

Embroidery, Migration Museum collection, HT 2006.93

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