You should have heard of Dream of Red Mansions, one of China's four great classical novels. The author of this novel is Cao Xueqin, whose family was in charge of the production of the cloud brocade YUNJIN.
Since the second year of the Kangxi Emperor, in 1663, Jinangjing Zhizhao, the supervision of the silk weaving of Nanjing was taken over by the royal family’s baoyi, Cao Xi, who served as Textile Commissioner. The baoyi were the bonded slaves of the royal family, and were mixed-ethnic descendants of the Hans and the Manchu clans and were known to be extremely loyal.
Cao Xi and his descendants were in control of the silk industry of Jiangning in Nanjing for 57 years, and that was not only the best time of this magical fabric but also the most prosperous period of the Qing.
Cao Xi’s great grandson Cao Xueqin became one of the most famous writers of China, and the author of the Dream of the Red Chamber, one of the four great Classical novels of China.
Cao Xi’s wife was also the Kangxi Emperor’s milk mother, and Cao Yin, his son, was the emperor’s childhood playmate. Therefore, the Kangxi Emperor always trusted the Cao family and let Cao Yin continue in his father’s position as Textile Commissioner of Jiangning. Meanwhile, he appointed his brother-in-law, Li Xu, in-charge the silk industry of Suzhou. The southern industries of Nanjing, Suzhou and Hangzhou were treated as one by the emperor and Cao Yin’s Jiangning was at the center of it all.
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