Rare Chinese Nanjing Yunjin Brocade Cushion Cover
Superb, Rare Chinese Nanjing Yunjin Brocade Cushion Cover, 17th/18th century, the yellow silk ground finely woven with multi-colored silk threads having a central rondelle of interlocking clouds centered with a Ming-style Imperial dragon with horns, flowing mane, scaly body, feathered tail and five-clawed limbs presented full face and pursuing the Flaming Pearl, the central rondelle flanked at the four corners with four additional Imperial dragons all chasing Flaming Pearls among clouds with bats and a twin fish symbol, the edges bordered with rocky mountains rising from rolling and cresting waves, w. 53", l. 61". Nanjing Yunjin silk "Cloud Brocade" is as "soft and lovely as the clouds". This ancient fabric manufacture dates back to the Three Kingdoms period (317-420 AD) and is still only made on antique wooden looms as modern looms cannot duplicate the complexity of the weaving of this brocade. Highly prized throughout its history, it was only produced by the Imperial textile factories in Nanjing until the late Qing dynasty. Yunjin was produced on large wooden looms that required two workers, the "thread puller" who sits at the top of the loom and is in charge of lifting the correct knots and the "weaver" who is at the lower part of the loom and twines the pattern and weaves the material into brocade. Two skilled workers were able to produce four to five centimeters of brocade per day. To complete an Imperial robe, it would take two years. Due to the quality of Yunjin, it was often used as a tribute to the emperor. On September 30, 2009, UNESCO listed Nanjing Yunjin brocade as a piece of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".
Overall excellent condition - no tears or loose threads - colors lovely - an unusually large and fine example of this rare Imperial brocade.