Silk and Art in China
|Sericulture and silk production are Chinese inventions whose profound impact on culture and civilization extended far beyond China's borders. Two of the earliest pieces of silk in the world were excavated from Qingtaicun, Yingyang, Henan Province (c. 3630 BC) and from Qianshanyang site, Huzhou, Zhejiang Province (c. 2750 BC). But to most people, silk, however attractive, is merely the stuff of househeld draperies and clothing; they give no thought to the crucial functions of silk in Chinese art. But silk art, as an independent genre, from its origin was closely related to the other traditional arts in China. The interrelationship is at least threefold: the process of sericulture and silk production have been illustrated throughout Chinese history in other art objects; the designs developed for patterned silks have influenced and been influenced by other media in Chinese art; and silk, used as a ground for painting and calligraphy, interacts materially with the brush to affect the appearance of the created work of art.