From Hermes to the Silk Road: Chinese designer revives Kesi silk
2017-07-21 08:49:00

Kesi, also known as "Cut Silk", is a style of traditional Chinese silk tapestry with cut designs.

Originating in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, more than 2,000 years ago, Kesi has been listed as a National Intangible Cultural Relic.

Recently, young Chinese designer Fan Weiyan won the 2017 International Furniture Design Award with his Kesi work, pushing the ancient craft back into the international spotlight.

His "Clouds" floor lamp won him the title “Star of Tomorrow” at the competition in Milan.

It’s made of an innovative material developed from cut silk.


The award-winning floor lamp “Clouds”. /CGTN Photo

“Memory Silk is a kind of new material we’ve developed. We blend metal and silk together to make a whole new fabric. It can be shaped and reshaped according to your intentions. Our innovation is based on ancient handicraft,” Fan explained.

One inch of Kesi silk equals one ounce of gold

Developed during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Kesi tapestry reached its pinnacle height during the Ming and Qing (1368-1911) dynasties.

For its extremely detailed pictorial designs, lightness and clarity of double-sided pattern, Kesi products were especially adored and used by imperial families.

Unlike continuous weft brocades, each color in Kesi is woven from a separate bobbin, making the style both technically demanding and time-consuming.

“It was actually introduced to China from western Asia along the Silk Road. Then the ancient Chinese added their creation and innovation and lifted the technique to a new level. So I always regard Kesi as a fruit of the collaborative wisdom of the people along the ancient Silk Road,” Fan said.

Source: CGTN Editor: Hiram