Detail of the Qing Dynasty Sichuan borcade. (Xinhua file photo)
BEIJING, July 6 (Xinhuanet) -- The "Chengdu Week" is coming! It will be a thrilling week for visitors to Milan Expo.
During the seven days beginning from July 6, visitors can not only taste the most authentic Sichuan cuisine and Chengdu snacks, watch the Sichuan Opera face-changing performance and kungfu tea show, but also will touch pieces of brocade with exquisite designs and delicate fabrics-the Sichuan Brocade.
Sichuan Brocade, from China's western metropolis of Chengdu, is one of the representatives of Chinese silk. In recent years, during the International Milan Fashion Week or fashion weeks in Paris, London and New York , you have seen fashion shows of with a variety of Chinese silk fabric designed by both Chinese and foreign designers, and they even caused a Chinese style sensation.
On May 4 this year, the Met Ball Charity Ball, with the theme of "elusiveness" was held at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hollywood stars wore their perceived design of "Chinese elements" and walk onto the red carpet with a lot of the tapestry, embroidery, silk standing out that day. Did Sichuan Brocade appear on the day of the dance ball as well? There is no particularly affirmative answer. But at least the famous lady Bee Shaffer wore crane design dress provided by the famous fashion brand Alexander McQueen with a fabric similar with Sichuan Brocade exhibited at the Expo's "Chengdu Week" Exhibition.
In the Milan World Expo's China Pavilion, the visitors can feel the charm of brocade. The tough, colorful fabric is made with multi-colored silk. Lifelike crane, flowers, fish and animals are woven by hands instead of being printed on silk fabrics. According to historical records, this manual process is a heritage with 2,000 years' history.
Dating back about 1,800 years ago and during the Three Kingdoms period, Sichuan Brocade was quite popular as Chengdu was the starting point of the “Silk Road”. Sichuan Brocade was highly developed as an important national industry, and was an important diplomatic gift. To promote brocade industry, Chengdu established a specialized palace for craftsman and workshops for better management. Chengdu therefore is also known as "the city of brocade", and the river running through the city and is also known as "the river of brocade."
Just as the world-famous Italian clothing and shoes handmade craftsmanship, Sichuan Brocade also has a tedious making process. According to brocade craftsman, one centimeter Sichuan Brocade takes picks of 120 times. Even the most skilled weavers could only make less than 10 centimeters tapestry one day.
Difficult production and superb artistry endow hand-woven brocade with a high collection value and make it a luxury for ancient Chinese nobility. Italy was the end of the ancient "Silk Road" and Chengdu was the supply of goods. You can imagine that 1000 years ago, Sichuan Brocade with high-end custom-made design might also be popular among the Roman nobility.
Today, China is actively promoting the "Belt and Road" initiatives. The fast train from Chengdu to Poland's Lodz and more than 80 international routes starting from Chengdu have become new logistics corridors of the Silk Road Economic Belt.
Moreover, Chengdu is southwest China's first city to build dual airports and is home to consular offices of 13 countries. The "72 hours visa-free transit" policy allows visitors from 51 countries to stay up to three days in Chengdu. The fully open Chengdu is ready to embrace the world.
In the near future, as the culture exchange between China and Europe become increasingly frequent, the "Chinese Fashion" with Sichuan Brocade will be used more in hand-made dress production and appear on the Milan Fashion Week and other international stages. The magical fabric from the East will shine brightly.