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Brocaded Tan Satin with Western Floral Pattern

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Period: Late-Qing period (late-19th c.; Qing dynasty 1644–1911)
Dimensions: Bolt length: 585 cm; width: 62 cm

This uncut bolt of satin has been preserved in its entirety. The satin is made with a light yellowish-tan silk thread in the warp and ground-weft. Light green and dark red silk threads were used in the figured-weft to produce a design that projects from the surface of the fabric. Additional designs were woven with the necessary combination of gold and silver threads and a variety of light colors. The brocaded satin is an exquisite example of advanced textile production.

The end of the bolt is woven with the trademark of the manufactory that produced the fabric; it reads, “A. and V. Sapozhnikov Factory, Moscow” (фабрика А. и В. Сапожниковых. Москва). The reverse bears the double-headed eagle of Russia and the number 72298 in a blue ink stamp. This brocaded satin with gold and silver threads was made in the aforementioned factory of the well-known Sapozhnikov brothers. They often accepted orders from high-ranking Buddhist monks, nobles, and members of the imperial court. Beginning in 1870, Alexander and Vladimir (whose name begins with a B in Russian orthography) operated the factory and made substantial achievements in weaving. Their quality work earned them the honor to add the imperial charge of the double-headed eagle to their work.

The Russian textile industry boomed during the second half of the nineteenth century. Their competitiveness enabled them to vie with industrialized European countries for the Chinese market. During this flourishing period, Chinese merchants of the official and common classes traded with Russians at Zhangjiakou, Khüree (present-day Ulaanbaatar), and Kyakhta. Russian textiles such as satins with gold designs, woolen cloth, Hui down, and Hui cloth became commonplace in China and an integral part of the Manchu court lifestyle.

Author: Zhang Xin
Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying

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