Peking silk is hand painted, an ancient Chinese tradition of depicting butterflies and flowers, in gouache, onto a striped silk ground. These stripes are subtle, self toned, relying on the play of light on alternate shiny and matte finishes. The base cloth can be woven, with the weave itself creating the differential, or joined, using cotton and silk dyed the same colour, so that now it’s the underlying fibre causing the subtle changes in light reflection.
The overall effect is one of lightness and shimmer; once painted, Peking silk can appear almost watery from the side angles
Madame de Pompadour loved the delicate pattern and used it to upholster her chair backs and seats. We recognise the original in museums and the idea in high quality furnishings – woven liseres and brocades or silks printed to resemble the original hand painted Peking textile.