The Chinese have either invented or introduced many things to the world. Items like gunpowder, different types of paper, printing processes and the compass are popular as the ‘Four Great Inventions of Ancient China’. These things have allowed China to flourish in trade and better their relationships with other nations. In doing so, China has also effectively spread their culture and beliefs.
Among these Chinese discoveries, silk is one that identifies luxury as once-exclusive to the culture.
Silk and Fabric Patterns
Silk, as a clothing material, grew in popularity as soon as it was invented 4,700 years ago. As a fabric, it can be a material for a number of cloths – from curtains to dresses and towels. Its rarity goes a long way back, having had a history of more than 6,000 years. Chinese art has made silk culturally expressive in such a way that it had patterns and designs that embodied their beliefs and traditions.
Confucius, for instance, is the nation’s icon for philosophy and religion, invoking symbolism in his analects. Flowers, for the Chinese, will always be more than just a mere plant. It will always have meaning as a fabric pattern.
There are hand-painted silk wall coverings, which happen to be decorative masterpieces exemplifying Chinese artistry. It expresses history in beautiful symbolism in images of birds, trees and butterflies.
Chinese Traditions and Beliefs
Traditional Chinese clothing shares the same historical prolixity of silk – it has developed, changed and improved as the years have passed by. What makes traditional Chinese clothing distinct is the uniqueness of its features – manifestations of their culture now inherent in the craft.
As an example, you can look at the cross-collar with junction overlapping to the right as a Chinese feature in clothing technology and design. A single-piece without any buttons that ties the piece together through the use of a sash at the waist is another example.
The colours of traditional Chinese clothing, meanwhile, characterise the five-element theory. This belief makes cyan, red, black, white and yellow the common colours in the early nation’s clothes and fabrics.