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Abstract

During ancient times, silk weaving techniques already matured in the Bashu area and “Shu Satin” silk products were widely known. Shu Satin not only performed as a high-quality commodity in the Northern Silk Road trade activities, but also conveyed cultural and social significance. Credit for the importance of Shu Satin must go to the extraordinary weavers in the Bashu area. The migration and circulation of these weavers spread the exquisite brocade and sericulture techniques throughout and beyond the Bashu area, and accelerated brocade and sericulture techniques in ancient southern China, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Accordingly, the Southern Silk Road can be seen as a path to disseminate the silk weaving techniques that originated in the Bashu area. This paper takes the migration of Shu Satin as its mainline and discusses how the weaving craftsmen spread the brocade and sericulture techniques throughout southern China during their travels and migrations, and the immeasurable contributions these craftsmen made to economic and trade activities along the ancient Southern Silk Road. This paper explores the technical accumulation and dissemination of brocade craftsmen in the Bashu area from three perspectives. The first perspective is the accumulation period of the ancient silk weaving techniques—the inflow of craftsmen from central China and the development and integration of the sericulture and silk weaving techniques in the Bashu area. The second is the technique dissemination period, centered on the silk weaving craftsmen in the Chengdu region of the Bashu area. The third is the techniques’ outmigration period and the migration and circulation of craftsmen throughout the Bashu area. This paper strives to outline the dynamic lines that the Bashu silk weaving craftsmen created and the spread of their exquisite weaving techniques during their migration and circulation. This will illustrate that the ancient Southern Silk Road was not only a trade and cultural exchange zone for ancient silk commodities, but more importantly, it was a dynamic space for the dissemination and development of brocade weaving techniques

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