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an elaborately patterned fabric with a silk warp. The weft or, less frequently, the warp contains metallic threads with gold, silver, or materials simulating them. In antiquity, only gold and silver threads were used in brocading. Subsequently, alloys containing only a small amount of precious metals replaced gold and silver. Brocading usually involves winding a thin metallic ribbon around a silk or cotton thread to impart to the fabric the necessary flexibility and, at the same time, to make the fabric sufficiently heavy and sparkling.
Brocades are known to have been made in China as early as the first years of the Common Era. Brocading spread from China to Asia Minor (Syria, Persia) and later to southern Europe (Sicily, Byzantium, Italy, Spain, and France). The first attempts to manufacture brocade in Russia date to the late 16th century, when an Italian master was invited to come to Moscow. Brocades were worn as formal dress by the upper classes and as vestments by the clergy. The fabric was also used to decorate interiors.
At present (1974), very little brocade is manufactured. It is used mainly for theatrical costumes and as decorative trimming. Brocades have been replaced by synthetic fabrics made from such materials as strips of film lined with foil.
REFERENCESKlein, V. Inozemnye tkani, bytovavshie v Rossii do XVII veka i ikh terminologiia. Moscow, 1925.
Sobolev, N. N. Ocherkipo istorii ukrasheniia tkanei. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.
Miliavskaia, Z. V. “Dekorativnye tkani.” In Otdelochnye materialy dlia Dvortsa Sovetov. Moscow, 1945.
Rodon, Y., and C. Font. L’Historique du métier pour la fabrication des étoffes façonnées. Paris-Liège, 1934.