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Chinese Silk Weaving Magic

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2022-05-25 17:28:08 | Author: BI Weizi


By BI Weizi


Empress' Jifu (Semiformal Court Robe), China, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
(PHOTO: VCG)

Silk-based textile is a famous specialty of ancient China where it originated. As far back as the Neolithic Age, China has already invented silk weaving technology.

Silk fabrics produced before 2700 BC were discovered in 1958 at the Qianshanyang site in Wuxing, Zhejiang province. They are the earliest known silk weaving remnants in China, one piece of which is an uncarbonized and slightly yellowish-brown, with a length of 2.4 cm and a width of 1 cm. The silk piece is plain, with warp and weft densities of 52 per centimeter and 48 per centimeter respectively, demonstrating that Chinese silk reeling and weaving technology was at an advanced level at the time.

Silk production developed in leaps and bounds from the Xia Dynasty (2070-1600 BC) to the end of the Warring States Period (770-476 BC), with its variety being diversified by many different weaving patterns and colored silks. The Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) witnessed the invention of many silk varieties, such as damask, yarn, and Luo; the Western Zhou period (1046-771 BC) produced brocade with more than two kinds of colorful jacquard weaves; while during the Warring States period, the ornamentation of silk weaving developed from geometric patterns to animal patterns, with richer colors and more intricate silk weaving techniques. During the Han and Tang dynasties (202 BC -907 AD), Chinese silk fabrics were exported to Central Asia, West Asia, Africa and Europe through the Silk Road, and were generally welcomed by all countries.

On September 30, 2009, Chinese silk weaving techniques were inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Silk weaving is a cultural identity of the Chinese nation, which has made significant contributions to Chinese history for 5,000 years and has also had a profound impact on human civilization through the Silk Road.

Editor: 龙云

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