Kathrin von Rechenberg’s Tea Silk

Tea silk considered one of the most well-preserved gems in Chinese silk craftsmanship. Originating from the Ming Dynasty, this fabric was once considered the most luxurious silk. The ’30s became the gilded age for xiangyunsha (the Chinese name for tea silk, also called langchou)—more expensive than gold, it was among the most desired goods by Southeast Asian aristocrats, and in China it became an icon of local urban elites. At that time, Shunde, the birthplace of tea silk on the Pearl River Delta, counted more than 500 factories. Unavoidably, the Cultural Revolution saw it as a symbol of capitalism and swept the industry away, but nowadays the world of luxury textiles is seeing a comeback of this ancient tradition.

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