Mystery of Chinese Silks in This Week’s LiveAuctionTalk.com Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller. Her weekly column is the online home for interesting and reliable information about the world of antiques. Sign up for a free weekly subscription.
News-Antique.com - Jun 22,2010 - Sacrificial chalices and ceremonial axe heads have been unearthed in ancient Chinese tombs that show textile impressions. The fabric surrounding these ceremonial objects is long gone but the impression is still there.
It seems weavers were at work even then producing patterns that would show up 1,000 years later in Chinese silk robes. A small fraction of these ancient textiles survive today. The rest is a mystery.
Silk was one of the driving forces behind the Chinese economy. In the 19th century and earlier, how a person dressed was the most important indicator of their position in society. Silk was used in everything from clothing, fishing-lines, bowstrings, and musical instruments to bonds of all kinds and even rag paper.
The impact of China’s rich textile history is undeniable and the attention to detail in vintage Chinese embroidery is something that has to be seen to be appreciated. So finely stitched are some of the vintage robes it took 5-6 people several years to complete just one.
On March 22, Doyle New York, featured a selection of vintage Chinese robes in its Asian Works of Art auction.
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