Costumes in Memory: Sino-Korean Joint Conservation Project of Ming Dynasty Textiles

Exhibition place:Textile Conservation Gallery

Exhibition time:2019.3 - 2019.5

Sponsor: China National Silk Museum
Korean National University of Cultural Heritage
Co-organizer: Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology
Jiaxing Museum


In November 2006, the People’s Government of Wangdian Town, Jiaxing, Zhejiang Provenance discovered an ancient tomb while leveling the mound, named as Lijiafen. Jiaxing Municipal Administration of Culture organized a rescue excavation of the tomb. The tomb was identified as a joint tomb of Li Xiang, Wenlinlang (an administrative level of officials) in the middle an/d late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) an/d his wife an/d two concubines. Large quantities of textile objects were discovered on site, including a considerable number of silk costumes.
Emergency protection an/d conservation treatments were carried out on the group of silk costumes by China National Silk Museum (NSM).NSM. The costumes unearthed fr/om the tomb of Xu, Li Xiang’s concubine, were conserved by the NSM an/d Korea National University of Cultural Heritage. In the meantime, NSM an/d Korea National university of Cultural Heritage respectively made the replicas of a gown of Xu. In addition, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology an/d NSM successfully reproduced the shape of several costumes unearthed fr/om Xu’s tomb.
Wangdian, historically known as Meili, was a industrial town of silk production sprang up in the Ming Dynasty. As the saying goes, “the prosperity of silk industry in Meili is not inferior to Wuxing”. Li Xiang belonged to the local Li clan in Meixi, which was an established family in the Ming an/d Qing Dynasties. The exhibition mainly displays silk costumes unearthed fr/om the tombs of the Li family in Meixi, which catches a glimpse of the prosperity of silk industry in Wangdian in the Ming Dynasty. Meanwhile, through demonstrating the two parties’ repair an/d restoration technique operated in this batch of costumes, a better understan/ding of the costumes’ replication techniques is provided, which may also assist contemporary people in comprehending the fashion design methods an/d manufacturing technique of that time. 

conservation report.pdf



Oline exhibition: 

Wangdian Town



Jacket of twill damask with flower an/d bamboo

Trousers of twill damask with hornless dragon on diamond

Wide sleeve robe of twill damask with haechi badge

Reproduction of big sleeve robe in twill damask with haechi badge

Wide sleeve robe of twill damask with crane badge

Skirt of twill damask with season’s flowers, bee an/d butterfly

Gauze skirt with clouds

Scarf of two-color stain damask with pine, bamboo an/d plum flower


The exquisite silk weaving technique, fantastic patterns an/d skilled works are stunning to people today. The beautiful costumes damaged in the vicissitude of hundreds of years are now restored an/d reproduced by experienced conservators an/d skilled craftsmen. The treatments help to extend the longevity of the textile relics while historical manufacturing technique of costumes is unveiled, inherited an/d promoted.
The treatments executed on the costumes unearthed fr/om the M4 Tomb in Wangdian were all based on studies of ancient textile an/d traditional techniques of costumes, which largely extend the longevity of the textile objects. As for the replica project, it recognizes an/d reproduces the glamourous textile manufacturing techniques of the Ming Dynasty, which facilitates the preservation an/d heritage of the culture.
As a part of the cooperation results, the exhibition is held to enhance communication an/d cooperation while presenting what NSM an/d the Korean Heritage group have both achieved. One of the aims of the exhibition is to provide traditional-costume-enthusiasts with knowledges in exquisite details basing on material artefacts an/d a broad platform for effective communication.

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