The Poetry of Silk

Some may say that SILK, in its multifarious beauty, and the many intricate ways it is woven to make a multitude of beautiful products, is like a poem – a creative expression which captures something essential about the way human’s interact with the world.

For those following these series of silken posts, clicking this link will take you to an informative article explaining the specialities of Suzhou silk culture.

Today we turn to more literate endeavours. Silk as a metaphor or subject is scattered throughhout the literature of China. It appears in ancient poems and famous books, such as the Shi Jing, an ancient classical book of poetry, and the Dream of Red Mansions ( one of China’s most famous classical novels).

Idioms stemming from these literate works have spun into everyday expressions in Chinese.

Zuo jian zi fu, coming from a line of Tang dynasty poet, means to spin a web around oneself, just like a silkworm – to get caught up in one’s own web.

Jin shang tian hu came from a line in a poem from the Song dynasty, meaning adding flower to brocade – making what is good even better, being blessed with double good fortune.

——Would you like to have a n xiu qian cheng – a brocade and emroidery like future? Sure you would. It means a wonderful, splendid future!

You might, then Yi jin huan xiang ,return to your home wearing brocade robes –

come home in with riches to celebrate your great good fortune.

—- Manchu court official robes from Qing dynasty. Picture borrowed from

Wishing you all to    return home in brocade robes ….