This is a Chinese embroidery depicting the Buddha and 100 children playing. My mother told me she counted once, and there were indeed 100 children. I tried to double check, but I kept losing track so I’m just going to trust her. This embroidery is given to married couples – the design of 100 children playing is good luck for a growing family. Here’s a close-up (the children are all carefully embroidered doing all kinds of different things).
I couldn’t get a good photograph of the whole thing, so I’m including lots of closeups! The embroidery contains a lot of Chinese symbolism. For example, pine trees and cranes symbolize longevity. Here is a detail from around the cranes (I’m not sure if the children with kites also symbolize something, or if they are just kids playing):
Here is a closeup of the Buddha:
These kids have a dragon!
This girl is carrying a lotus and riding a dragon. She’s my favorite. One of my Chinese friends tells me that bodhisattvas ride dragons, deer, and cranes in stories. These bodhisattvas are mysterious and powerful, and these images of children riding these animals symbolize power. Lotuses are a major Buddhist symbol. So this embroidery is wishing the new family children, longevity, power, and luck.
Of course, if you are better informed than I am, I’d be delighted to hear more about the symbolism in this picture!