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Silk and Chinese literature

Silk and Ancient Poems

Literature works with the theme of silk have abounded throughout history. Beginning with Shi jing (Classics of Poetry), many poems throughout Chinese history by renowned poets -- like Li Bai, Bai Juyi, Du Fu, Li Shangyin, Wang Changling, Fan Dacheng, Lu You, and Su Shi -- have used silk as the content, or as a metaphor. In classic works like Dream of Red Mansions and Plum in the Gold Vase , there are many descriptions of silk.

Silk and Idioms

As a very important part of Chinese culture, silk affects people not only in the form of clothes. The Chinese have a lot of idioms related to silk. The following are some of the most frequently used ones.

Zuo jian zi fu means to spin a cocoon around oneself, or to get into enmeshed in a web of one's own spinning, just like a silkworm. The idiom first appeared in a poem by famous poet Bai Juyi in the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Jin shang tian hua implies being blessed with a double portion of good fortune. The idiom literally means adding flower to brocade, or making what is good even better. The idiom first appeared in a poem by Huang Tingjian in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). 

Jin xiu qian cheng literally means a brocade- and embroidery-like future. Just as its literal meaning suggests, the word means a splendid and glorious future. 

Yi jin huan xiang literally means returning to one's home in brocade robes. Jin, meaning brocade, was the most precious silk in ancient times and the word usually refers to the rich or powerful. Thus the word means going home with fame or money. 

Yi jin ye xing literally means walking out in brocade robes during the night. The word implies that one's illustriousness remains unknown to others. 

Si si ru kou literally means with all the threads neatly tide up as in weaving. It is usually used to describe works of literary composition or artistic performances that are done flawlessly. 

Qian si wan lu literally means thousands of silk threads and countless ties. It is used to describe the intimate and complex relationships.


- Silk and Chinese Culture

Silk and Chinese Art
Silk and Stamp, Printing, and Engraving
Silk and Ancient Chinese Rites
Silk and Painting
Silk and Chinese Literature

- Elaborate Silk Works

The Four Famous Embroideries of China
Famous Brocades in China
Cut Silk (Kesi)
Gu Embroidery
Hair Embroidery
Cross-stitch Embroidery Art
Beijing Silk Figurines

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