The term “textile” , which is derived from a Latin word “texere” means” to weave “. Textile refers to a flexible material comprising of a network of natural or artificial fibers, known as yarn. Textiles are formed by weaving, knittin , crocheting, knotting and pressing fibers together.
As one of the typical representatives of Chinese culture, Chinese textiles went back to the Neolithic period. By the Warring States through Han Dynasty periods, elaborately patterned jin-brocades, complex gauze weaves, and intricately embroidered textiles were all being produced; their artistry and technical accomplishments amazed modem viewers.
The invention of silk built a bridge between China and Europe. Trade along the Silk Road, which began as early as the Han dynasty and reached its peak in the 5th through 12th centuries CE, created an environment in which Chinese culture interacted with the tastes of consumers from lands as distant as Iran and Rome. Weavers from a number of ethnic backgrounds, including Han Chinese and Central Asian (Uighur, Sogdian, and others) all produced textiles in different styles woven from silk.
Formerly nomadic ruling dynasties, such as the Liao ( 907-1125) , incorporated imagery of hunting and nature into gorgeous gold-brocaded textiles. During the Song Dynasty (960-1279) , Kesi (cut silk or the tapestries) which was an ancient craft became highly desirable due to the refined workmanship developed from the improving skills and techniques of its craftsmen. And then during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, court robes, rank badges, and Buddhist and Daoist Kesi were all used to denote status and wealth, as well as to express religious devotion. Finally, the Silk Road became a symbol of the cultural and economic exchange between the East and the West. As a part of the Chinese civilization, silk made a great contribution to the world.
Typical of Chinese courtly garments are the large, standing dragons, which are used to emblazon an Imperial family’s clothes. Sometimes, the dragon is surrounded by large, gold-couched characters, some of which mean 66 chang shou” (long life). In addition, dragon adorned with the swastika means “ten thousand”, which is a popular birthday wish for longevity. This symbolism indicates these kinds of garments are intended for such an occasion like a birthday. The color red is very popular and became the Ming dynastic color.
Nowadays, textile is often closely associated with prosperity and involved in the process of elaborate rituals. Parents’ spontaneous love for their children is most visibly reflected through the excellent clothes they provide for their children on special occasions, especially on Spring Festival. Those clothes are made of expensive materials and excellent craftsmanship
Chinese textile，with its extremely long and rich history，has a massive impact on the economy and the evolution of modern society. It is world famous and extraordinary for its fine quality and profound symbolic meanings. Chinese textile also enjoys an excellent heritage in textile sector，symbolically reflects its tradition and culture, and occupies a prominent position in the global textile market.