Yunjin Brocade


Nanjing Yunjin (cloud pattern) brocade derives its name from the feature of being as splendid as the rosy clouds in the sky. It had always been produced exclusively for the imperial family in previous ages spanning nearly 700 years. The fabric made of silk, gold and silver threads with fine craftsmanship is exquisite, elegant and gorgeous. The superb weaving technique represents the highest level of the kind in ancient China.

The Qinhuai River in Nanjing City provides unique quality water for fabric dyeing. The water, containing Tannic acid, is alkalescent, which plays a catalytic role in dyeing and makes the dyed fabric silky and glossy. From the Southern and Northern Dynasties to the Ming and Qing dynasties, Yunjin brocade had been using natural dyes, which were extracted from plants and produced in Nanjing.

The traditional production was developed on the ancient jacquard technology. The hand-woven Yunjin brocade is the most precious brocade, whose craftsmanship represents the achievement of ancient weaving technology in China. The weaving technology and unique design of the brocade is exceedingly complex and exquisite, and no modern machine has yet been able to replace the ancient looms, which is rare in the world. In the delicate production process, collaboration between a person sitting at the loom known as a thread puller and the other person sitting on the lower part of the loom called a weaver is the key. The daily output is about a five to six- centimeter piece of the material, and that is why an inch of the Yunjin brocade was said to be as valuable as an ounce of gold.(Courtesy of the IP Protection Department of CNIPA)