Silk culture, blooming charm in fashion

  Li Qizheng

  "People's Daily" (20th edition on February 25, 2022)

  core reading

  In the long process of development, silk has been endowed with rich cultural connotations, and its appearance has also changed with the times, releasing new vitality

  Today, when the construction of ecological civilization is actively promoted, silk culture is showing its style in the fashion trend with its green concept of traditional handicraft skills.

  What we provide to the world is not only silk as a fabric, but also a silk culture that embodies inheritance and innovation, and embodies the wisdom of generations of Chinese people's technical practice and cultural creation.

  Meticulous, intricate, icing on the cake... There are nearly a hundred idioms related to "silk" in Chinese, and there are countless Chinese characters with "纟" as the radical.

my country's silk culture has a long and profound history. Judging from the remains of sericulture silk culture unearthed, the "silkworm pattern ivory cap" is about 7,000 years ago, and the first artificially cut silkworm cocoons in human history are also nearly 6,000 years old.

In the long process of development, silk has been endowed with rich cultural connotations, and its appearance has also changed with the times, releasing new vitality.

  Cultural heritage comes to life

  Silk has the unique characteristics of long production process, high technical difficulty and high artistic aesthetics.

The industrious and intelligent ancient Chinese people extracted elegant, soft and elegant silk from natural life through complex, meticulous and ingenious procedures, and weaved it into ingenious and beautiful silk, leaving a lot of cultural heritage for today's people. .

"Zhejiang Huzhou Mulberry Fish Pond System" was recognized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization as an important global agricultural cultural heritage, and "Chinese traditional mulberry silk weaving skills" and "Nanjing Yunjin weaving skills" were included in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity , Shu Brocade, Song Brocade, Yun Brocade, Xiangyun Sha, Hang Luo, Kesi, Su Embroidery, etc. were rated as national intangible cultural heritage projects.

  The cultural heritage of these silk fields is combined with contemporary life and modern craftsmanship, and it is constantly radiating new vitality.

"Zhejiang Huzhou Mulberry Fish Pond System" is one of the few agricultural cultural heritages in my country and even in the world with a history of more than 2,500 years. The mode of "mud and mulberry" creates the benefit of "both benefits, ten times the crop".

In recent years, this agricultural cultural heritage has been further combined with modern agriculture and the construction of beautiful villages to promote the better use of traditional mulberry fish ponds and make the traditional agricultural cultural heritage "live".

  For another example, "brocade", which represents the highest level of ancient Chinese silk weaving skills, is still active in the field of contemporary culture and art after thousands of years, and constantly innovates the inheritance model.

  First, adhering to the traditional process route and cross-border integration.

Not long ago, in the art exhibition "The Light of Extraordinary Pearl Art", Qian Xiaoping, the representative inheritor of Song Jin, a national intangible cultural heritage project, used Song Jin skills to express the series of works of Italian painter Modigliani.

In the silky light and shadow, the three-dimensional texture of the original characters is highlighted, showing the charm of the fusion of Eastern and Western art.

  The second is to innovate technical means to prosper the modern brocade industry.

"Jin" is valued in silk for its complex weaving and rich colors.

Li Jialin, an expert in brocade craftsmanship, invented the "five-color interweaving method", which changed the way of expressing silk images and traditional brocade production methods that have been used by countries for more than 100 years, and created more than 4,500 colors.

In his hands, modern brocade works such as the silk weaving scroll "Across the River during Qingming Festival" and the color brocade painting "Fuchun Mountain Residence" were born.

  In addition, people also improved the silk production method to better meet the market consumption demand.

Inherited for more than 600 years and known as "soft gold" in the silk industry, Xiangyun yarn was originally the crystallization of collective labor.

The production of traditional fragrant cloud yarn generally requires dozens of craftsmen to operate at the same time, and it has to go through "three washings, nine steaming and eighteen drying" for nearly a year.

Purely handmade and with a long production cycle, Xiangyun yarn has been low in yield and expensive for hundreds of years.

In recent years, people have greatly improved the production efficiency and output of Xiangyun yarn by improving the dyeing and weaving skills, and the production cost has also been reduced. Xiangyun yarn has entered more ordinary people's homes.

  Fashion trends have a go

  Today, when the construction of ecological civilization is actively promoted, silk culture is showing its style in the fashion trend with its green concept of traditional handicraft skills.

"Hanfu", "cheongsam" and "new Chinese clothing" with silk as the important fabric are leading the continuous innovation of traditional clothing culture.

  In 2014, the "New China Clothing", whose root is "China", whose soul is "ritual" and whose shape is "new", is the clothing of APEC leaders, showing the world the style of Chinese clothing.

In recent years, "Hanfu fever" has gradually emerged. Activities such as "China Huafu Day" and "National Silk Hanfu Festival" have attracted many young people to participate and are deeply loved.

What followed was the popular "cheongsam style" at home and abroad. Today, the cheongsam has evolved into a formal dress for women.

In this new trend of clothing, silk is an indispensable material, whether it is the new Chinese clothing that highlights the temperament, the thin and elegant Hanfu, or the graceful cheongsam. It has become an international fashion to express the beauty of oriental silk.

For example, Nanjing Yunjin with "inches of brocade and inch of gold" is an important Chinese element in today's international fashion industry.

  From World Expos, International Film Festivals to International Fashion Weeks, Chinese silk represented by Yunjin Huafu is constantly interpreting the innovative fusion of tradition and fashion, shaping and interpreting the fashion "Chinese style".

At the same time, a series of Chinese brands rooted in tradition have incubated and grown, and silk elements have been applied in fashion, apparel and home design, and ancient silk has embarked on the road of fashion industry.

For example, Suzhou Soochow Silk Weaving Factory established in 1919, Nanjing Yunjin Research Institute established in 1957, and Chengdu Shujin Factory established in 1951 have now become innovative enterprises, winning development opportunities in the domestic and international markets and interpreting contemporary Fashionable life.

  Technology empowers silk to regenerate

  Integrating with science and technology, it expands a new path for silk culture and makes it better serve contemporary life.

In recent years, innovative silk technologies and extended industries such as mulberry leaf tea, artificial intelligence customized silk, and "silk hard disk" have emerged.

The mulberry leaf tea, which is refined by scientific baking and other processes, has a mellow taste and a pleasant fragrance.

Artificial intelligence "fashion designers" can deeply understand consumers' personality characteristics and dressing needs through dialogue, and design unique digital art silk scarves in combination with fashion trends.

my country's scientific research units have also developed a "silk hard disk", which uses silk as a storage medium like an optical disc to write and read digital information on it.

  Technological updates and iterations expand the application scenarios of silk, and the formulation and release of silk inspection technical standards continue to enhance the international influence of Chinese silk.

In 2014, China took the lead in formulating and implementing the first international silk standard.

The electronic detection technology of raw silk included in this standard is led by China in scientific research and has been recognized by the international silk industry.

The Silk Road more than 2,000 years ago created the world's magnificent imagination of the East.

Today, under the "Belt and Road" initiative, the economic and trade exchanges and people-to-people and cultural exchanges among countries along the route are becoming more and more frequent. Many silk producing and consuming countries are carrying out close exchanges and cooperation in technical brand, creative design, historical culture, marketing brand and other aspects. The cultural spirit of the Silk Road has once again become the link and bridge of cross-cultural communication.

  Silk is a great invention of the Chinese nation and a cultural symbol of Chinese civilization.

As a major producer and exporter of sericulture silk raw materials, we provide the world with not only silk as a fabric, but also a silk culture that embodies inheritance and innovation, embodying the wisdom of generations of Chinese people's technical practice and cultural creation.

Looking to the future, the ancient silk culture will surely bloom with new brilliance on the road of inheritance and innovation.

  (The author is an associate professor at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University)

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