Suzhou Song Brocade

Updated: April 28 2008(GMT+08:00)

Suzhou Song Brocade with its magnificent color, delicate patterns and softness, Nanjing Yun Brocade, Sichuan Su Brocade are honored as the most famous brocades in China.

As early as in the Qin and Han dynasties, folk artisans carried deep researches in brocade. In Tang dynasty, there was famous brocade in Suzhou. In Five Dynasties, there was splendid brocade of fine colors in Suzhou. Many pieces of brocade existed in the cultural relics excavated in Mount Tiger Tower, and Auspicious Light Tower.


After the transition of Song dynasty to the south, the national center of economics moved south. Suzhou then was just second to Ling'an and was one of the centers of politics, economics and culture. Therefore, silk weaving industry developed more quickly. In order to satisfy the cultural need of the ruling class, there appeared a kind of very thin brocade, for the purpose of mounting pictures. Suzhou was famous for such brocade. Those old and beautiful pictures are preserved together with the brocade. They are habitually called Song Brocade. Song Brocade accepts the tradition of ancient normal brocade, adopting “Fang Sheng” decorative patterns, which show their changes in strict symmetry. In the usage of colors, there doesn't exist the sharp contrast of colors, instead, several similar colors of nearly the same brightness and darkness, were used to achieve the artistic effect of prominence through contrast. It looked just bright without seeing too strong. It was splendid and in good order. 

Song Brocade is the most precious traditional art pieces. However, Kuomintang and the feudal rulers paid no attention to it. It was on the edge of extinction before liberation. After liberation, the production of Song Brocade was recovered to meet the development of arts and trade. Wood machine was renovated in 1958. Electric machines were added. Therefore it could develop mechanically. The varieties of Song Brocade enlarged. Now, the state-owned brocade factory was located in Lions Lane. It also produces satin, velvet, Su flower silk, damask silk, etc, besides the brocade. In order to meet the need of the minorities, the color-collar brocade has been tried. With the open market and the growing need, brocade will become blindly bright, attractively splendid. 

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