Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Systematic Management Mode of the State-Run Silk-Weaving Industry of the Song Dynasty

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Systematic Management Mode of the State-Run Silk-Weaving Industry of the Song Dynasty

Article excerpt


Based on abundant documents evidences, this paper analyzes the systematic management mode of the state-run silk-weaving industry in China of the Song dynasty. The obvious systematic characteristics can be described as distribution, division and operation. The state-run silk-weaving industry is widely distributed in the capital city and the areas where sericulture and silk weaving are already highly developed. It is clearly divided into weaving, dyeing, embroidering, clothing producing and silk articles manufacturing. The state-run silk-weaving industry had the privilege to employ highly skillful craftsmen. The supervisors, designated by the government, controlled the manufacturing process and the quality and quantity of the products. The study shows that, on the basis of thousands of years accumulation, the state-run silk-weaving industry of the Song dynasty presented the all-round development in ancient China, offering a reference for the Yuan, the Ming and the Qing dynasty.

Keywords: management mode, the Song dynasty, the state-run silk-weaving industry, systematic

1. Introduction

The state-run silk-weaving industry in the Song dynasty produced specialized noncommercial silk fabric livelihoods for the state and the ruling class. Highly centralized feudal autocratic empire pushed systematic management mode in this industry. A series of state-run weaving organizations for different divisions were set up in the capital city as well as local places by the central government. These organizations, were supervised and abolished by the central government. The local governments set up the same organizations as well. Different scales of state-run weaving organizations were widely spread in Hebei, Shandong, Zhejiang, Sichuan and other silk producing areas at the beginning of the Song. According to the diverse requirements of the state and consumers, the government set up workshops producing varieties of silk fabrics, and specialized agencies engaging in weaving, dyeing, sewing, embroidery, and silk articles manufacturing. They issued instructions concerning the number of staff and quotas of output to these plants.

Compared with the Tang dynasty, the state-run weaving industry in the Song was advanced in distribution, division of labor and the management system owing to the advancements in agriculture, transportation, trade and textile technology. In order to guarantee the materials supply in the capital city, canal transportation (cao-yun) was particularly well developed in the Song, which led to the prosperity of handicraft industry in different cities. Chinese traditional feudal natural economy made weaving industry separate from farming completely in the Song. The harvest of agricultural products promoted the development of commodity economy. All these contributed to the surplus of raw materials to be sold and labor to be hired in the nongovernmental market. The appearance of the Treadle-Operated Silk Reeling frame (jiao-ta sao-che), the adoption of the method of warping on frame (zhou-jia zheng-jing fa) and the creation of the String-Heddle Patterning loom (shu-zong ti-hua-ji) achieved higher production efficiency and better product quality.

2. Distribution of State-Run Silk-Weaving Industry of the Song

The state-run silk weaving organizations were mainly spread in the capital city, Hebei, Shandong, Zhejiang, Sichuan and other areas where sericulture and silk industry were highly developed.

2.1 Silk-Weaving Plants in the Capital Cities Established by the Central Government

In the Northern Song, a series of weaving, dyeing, embroidery, manufacturing state-run weaving plants were already established in the capital city Bianjing (modern Kaifeng). Along with the moving south process of the court, most plants also moved to Lin'an (modern Hangzhou). In 1131, the Bureau of Weaving and Sewing (ling-jin yuan) and the Bureau of Fine Crafts (wen-si yuan) still existed (Song, during, A. …

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