Introduction

Zhuang brocade,a traditional precious folk handicraft is regarded as a national cultural gem of Guangxi. It was equally named with Yun-brocade of Nanjing,Shu-brocade of Chengdu and Song-brocade of Suzhou as four of the most famous brocades.

The Zhuang ethnic minority is the largest minority group in China with a long history and glorious culture. Over 90 percent of the Zhuang people live in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The rest of the Zhuang people reside in Yunnan, Guangdong, Guizhou and Hunan Provinces.Throughout the centuries, the Zhuang people have been admired for their outstanding brocade weaving skills.

Zhuang brocade has a long history. Way back in the Han Dynasty, ancient Zhuang ethnic people wove what was known as "banbu" or "streaky cloth", the predecessor of brocade. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, archeologists discovered several remnant pieces of orange-color brocade with labyrinth patterns in Pit No.7 of a Han-Dynasty tomb in Luobo Bay of Guangxi. This finding proved the existence of the brocade weaving technique in Guangxi in the Han Dynasty.

The Zhuang brocade weaving technique originated in the Tang and Song Dynasties and enjoyed further development in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Zhuang brocade was included in the tributes to the imperial court in the Ming Dynasty. At the end of the Qing Dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China, Zhuang brocade suffered decline. With a development history of 1,000 years or so, Zhuang brocade stands out for its durability, exquisiteness, creative design and intricate patterns. It comes in more than 20 items in three unique categories with over 50 patterns.

 

The color matching of Zhuang brocade is generally perfect. There's sharp contrast between a riot of color, and beauty of simplicity as well. The brocade is luxurious but not vulgar, simple but not in poor taste. Cases in point: works entitled "Phoenixes Flying in Pairs" and "Two Phoenixes Playing with Chrysanthemum Flowers". These works fully demonstrated the Zhuang women's extraordinary wisdom and excellent aesthetic taste.

Zhuang brocade is renowned for its color, luster, durability and the wide range of use, With durable quality ,good-looking designs and of primitive simplicity elegant characters,Zhuang- brocade enjoys high appreciation value of its own. It is not only a wonderful handicraft favored by the people in China but also has won international fame and enjoys a large market both at home and abroad.



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