Chinese Silks Feng Zhao, Wengying Li, Juanjuan Chen, James C. Y. Watt, Dieter Kuhn, Nengfu Huang, Hao Peng

The Culture & Civilization of China
Publication date:
25 Sep 2012
Yale University Press
624 pages: 305 x 229mm
600 color + 50 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

Over the past fifty years, archaeological explorations in China have unearthed a wealth of textile materials, some dating as far back as five thousand years. In this magnificently researched and illustrated book, preeminent Chinese and Western scholars draw upon these spectacular discoveries to provide the most thorough account of the history of silk ever written.

Encyclopaedic in breadth, the volume presents a chronological history of silk from a variety of perspectives, including the archaeological, technological, art historical, and aesthetic. The authors explore the range of uses for silk, from the everyday to the sublime. By directly connecting recently found textile artefacts to specific references in China's vast historical literature, they illuminate the evolution of silk making and the driving social forces that have inspired the creation of innovative textiles through the millennia.

Dieter Kuhn is professor emeritus of sinology, University of Würzburg, Germany. James C. Y. Watt is Brooke Russell Astor Chairman Emeritus, Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Chen Juanjuan was senior research fellow, Palace Museum, Beijing. Huang Nengfu is professor at the Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing. Li Wenying is deputy director, Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology. Peng Hao is professor of archaeology, Wuhan University, and senior research fellow at Jingzhou Museum, Hubei. Zhao Feng is vice director, China National Silk Museum, Hangzhou; director, Chinese Centre for Textile Identification and Conservation, Hangzhou; and professor of textile and costume history, Donghua University, Shanghai.

'Encyclopaedic… [Chinese Silks] covers everything from nuts and bolts of sericulture to the history of silk in Chinese literature, with illustrations of scraps of ancient silk fabrics brought to light be archaeology and of the most extravagant Qing dynasty imperial robes. The result, in Chinese Silks, is book as monument.' Holland Cotter, International Herald Tribune