Craftsmanship of Nanjing Yunjin brocade
Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Craftsmanship of Nanjing Yunjin brocade
In the Chinese tradition of weaving Nanjing Yunjin brocade, two craftspeople operate the upper and lower parts of a large, complicated loom to produce textiles incorporating fine materials such as silk, gold and peacock feather yarn. The technique was once used to produce royal garments such as the dragon robe and crown costume; today, it is still used to make high-end attire and souvenirs. Preserved primarily in Jiangsu province in eastern China, the method comprises more than a hundred procedures, including manufacturing looms, drafting patterns, the creation of jacquard cards for programming weaving patterns, dressing the loom and the many stages of weaving itself. As they ‘pass the warp’ and ‘split the weft’, the weavers sing mnemonic ballads that remind them of the techniques they employ and enhance the cooperative, artistic atmosphere at the loom. The workers view their craft as part of a historical mission since, in addition to creating fabrics for contemporary use, yunjin is used to replicate ancient silk fabrics for researchers and museums. Named for the cloud-like splendour of the fabrics, yunjin remains popular throughout the country.
Decision 4.COM 13.11
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: The craftsmanship of Nanjing Yunjin brocade has a long history representing a unique Chinese culture, is recognized by its practitioners as their intangible cultural heritage, and provides them with a sense of identity;
- R.2: Inscription on the Representative List would encourage young people to learn the craftsmanship, promote cultural diversity, human creativity and intercultural dialogue as well as sustainable development of the workers’ community, and raise awareness about the importance of the intangible cultural heritage at the local, national and international levels;
- R.3: Various current, recent and proposed safeguarding measures such as activities for stimulating recognition, research and transmission of the element are described in a clear and precise manner;
- R.4: The nomination was prepared by several institutions concerned as well as skill holders and craft workers who demonstrated their free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: The element is inscribed on the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage administered by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture.
© 2008 Nanjing ‘Yunjin’ Brocade Research Institute Company Limited
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