Silk Products in China
China is where silk originiated. There are many different types of silk products in China: clothes, scrolls, silk fan, and so on. Among each product, classes of silk can vary a lot. For example, the photo on the left is a Dragon robe of Chinese Emperor Qianlong. Chinese upper classes people are the only ones that able to wear silk, because silk is really expensive. The emperors are the highest class in the society, so the quality of silk they use are the highest, too. The higher the quality of silk means a softer and lighter touch. In many ancient Chinese stories, the best silk can feel as nothing. So when people wear a silk clothes, they will feel really relaxed. If the emperor decides to grant silks as rewards to the ministers, the quality of those silks cannot be better than the one used by the emperor, otherwise it can be regarded as a vioation of the emperor's stateliness.
There are three different types of silk in China, and they are from different regions of China. The picture on the left is the most famous one, Yun Jin (云锦). Yun Jin is produced from Nanjing, China. The earliest Yun Jin appeared in Song Dynasty. Yun Jin is very colorful and glossy just like the cloud on the sky, and that's why it is called "Yun Jin (云锦)". Yun (云) is a Chinese character means clouds, and Jin (锦) means silk. Because of that, Yun Jin has been regarded as tribute only to the emperor and the royal class.
The picture on the left is an example of Shu Jin (蜀锦). Shu Jin is the type of silk produced from Sichuan, China. The word "Shu (蜀)" is a nickname of Sichuan province. Shu Jin has the longest history among the three different types, and it has been invented from Han Dynasty. Shu Jin is one of the most important goods traded along the Silk Road. Some of the Japanese silk productions are influenced by Shu Jin.
The picture on the left is an example of Song Jin (宋锦). Song Jin comes from Suzhou, China, and the name comes from Song Dynasty. It is developed based on Shu Jin in Tang Dynasty. There are many different types of Song Jin: Da Jin (大锦), Xiao Jin (小锦), Cai Dai (彩带) and so on. The most historical type is Da Jin, so it is also called "Fang Gu Jin (仿古锦)", which means "imatating the tradition" in Chinese.
This is a silk scroll from Yuan Dynasty. It is a painting of pink and white lotus.
This is a photo of a circular silk fan. The design on the fan is cat and calligraphy.
Written by Hao Yu