Brocade is a class of richly decorative shuttle-woven fabrics, often made in colored silks and with or without gold and silver threads.[1] The name, related to the same root as the word "broccoli", comes from Italian broccato meaning "embossed cloth", originally past participle of the verb broccare "to stud, set with nails", from brocco, "small nail", from Latin broccus, "projecting, pointed".[2]

Brocade is typically woven on a draw loom. It is a supplementary weft technique; that is, the ornamental brocading is produced by a supplementary, non-structural, weft in addition to the standard weft that holds the warp threads together. The purpose of this is to give the appearance that the weave was actually embroidered on.

In Guatemala, brocade is the most popular technique used to decorate fabric woven by Maya weavers on backstrap looms.

Ornamental features in brocade are emphasized and wrought as additions to the main fabric, sometimes stiffening it, though more frequently producing on its face the effect of low relief. In some, but not all, brocades, these additions present a distinctive appearance on the back of the material where the supplementary weft or floating threads of the brocaded or broached parts hang in loose groups or are clipped away.[1] When the weft is floating on the back, this is known as a continuous brocade; the supplementary weft runs from selvage to selvage. The yarns are cut away in cutwork and broché. Also, a discontinuous brocade is where the supplementary yarn is only woven in the patterned areas.

Paris - Cathédrale Notre-Dame - Trésor de la cathédrale - Ornements sacerdotaux -3
Brocade of Lyon. 19th Century
Brocart de soie français
Silk brocade fabric, Lyon, France, 1760-1770.
Detail of hair-sash being brocaded on a Jakaltek Maya backtrap loom.
Brocade loom
Large brocade loom, Nanjing, China, 2010



The manufacture of brocade began during the Warring States period of China.[3] Many products of brocade have been found in tombs of the era.[3][4]


Dating back to the Middle Ages, brocade fabric was one of the few luxury fabrics worn by nobility throughout China, India, Persia, Greece, Japan, Korea and Byzantium. Woven by the Byzantines, brocades were an especially desirable fabric. From the 4th to the 6th centuries, production of silk was seemingly non-existent, as linen and wool were the predominant fabrics. During this period, there was no public knowledge of silk fabric production except for that which was kept secret by the Chinese. Over the years, knowledge of silk production became known among other cultures and spread westward. As silk production became known to Western cultures, trade from the East began to decrease. It was discovered by Byzantine historians that in the 6th century a pair of monks brought the secret of sericulture – silk production – to the Byzantine emperor. As a result, Western cultures were able to learn how to breed, raise, and feed silkworms. From this point until the 9th century, Byzantium became the biggest and most central producer for all of the Western world in the production of all types of silk motifs, including brocades, damasks, brocatelles and tapestry-like fabrics.[5]

During the Early Middle Ages, brocade fabrics were only available to the wealthiest of people as the Byzantine emperor charged extreme prices for the fabric. The designs woven into brocade fabrics were often Persian in origin. It was also common to see Christian subjects depicted in the complex weaves of the fabric. When these luxurious fabrics were made into clothing or wall hangings, they were at times adorned with precious and semiprecious stones, small medallions of enamel, embroidery and appliqués.[5]

The Late Middle Ages

The life of a noble during the Late Middle Ages was filled with entertainment: riding and hunting, music and dancing, and feasting. All of these activities became a stage for the display of fashion. Wealthy noblemen and noblewomen dressed in silk brocades from Italy, and velvets trimmed with fur from Germany. During the 14th and 15th centuries, the Court of Burgundy was made known for their continuous fashionable tastes and luxurious dress.[6]


Brocades were also an important fabric during the Renaissance, and especially the Italian Renaissance. As wool and silk were the primary fabrics used by Europeans during the Renaissance, and despite the lack of documentary evidence, it is said that due to the increase in complexity of decoration of Italian silk fabrics of the 15th century, there must have been improvements in silk-weaving looms around this time. The complexity and high quality of luxurious silk fabrics caused Italy to become the most important and superior manufacturer of the finest silk fabrics for all of Europe. The almost sculptural lines of the fashions during the Renaissance were paired perfectly with the exquisite beauty and elegance of brocade, damask, and other superior silk textiles.[7]

The motifs remained Chinese, Indian and Persian in origin and were a reflection of the trading between the Far East and Italy. It is said that some Renaissance painters designed and sketched textile designs for fabrics production as well as incorporation into their paintings.[7]

Modern uses

Brocade fabrics are mostly for upholstery and draperies. They are also used for evening and formal clothing, for vestments, as well as for costumes. The use of precious and semiprecious stones in the adornment of brocades is not common but has been replaced with the use of sequins and beading as decoration. Brocade fabrics are now largely woven on a Jacquard loom that is able to create many complex tapestry-like designs using the jacquard technique. Although many brocade fabrics look like tapestries and are advertised by some fashion promotions as such, they are not to be confused with true tapestries. Patterns such as brocade, brocatelle, damask and tapestry-like fabrics are known as jacquard patterns.[8]


Boys riding goats, 15th-16th C

Silk brocade (detail), Boys riding goats. Ming dynasty, 15th/16th century.

Persian Silk Brocade - Shah Abbasi Flower - Seyyed Hossein Mozhgani - 1974

Persian Silk Brocade. Brocade weaver: Seyyed Hossein Mozhgani, 1974, Ministry of Culture and Art, Iran.

Brocaded patterns of the traditional hajong Argon

Traditional Hajong brocade.

See also


  1. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Brocade" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 620–622.
  2. ^ brocade: EtymologyOnline
  3. ^ a b Ye, Lang; Fei, Zhengang; Wang, Tianyou, eds. (2007). China: Five Thousand Years of History and Civilization. Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press. p. 410. ISBN 978-962-937-140-1.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Michael (1999). The Arts of China (4th ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21876-0.
  5. ^ a b Tortora, Phyllis G. (2009). Survey of Historic Costume. New York: Fairchild Books. p. 110.
  6. ^ Tortora, Phyllis G. (2009). Survey of Historic Dress. New York: Fairchild Books. pp. 147–148.
  7. ^ a b Tortora, Phyllis G. (2009). Survey of Historic Dress. New York: Fairchild Books. pp. 183–184.
  8. ^ Collier, Billie J. (2009). Understanding Textiles. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 303.

Further reading

  • Brocade paper (fragment), originally belonging to a sample book of J.M. Munck, Augsburg 1751 treasure 5 National Library of The Netherlands
  • Marypaul Yates. Fabrics A Guide for Interior Designers and Architects. W. W. Norton & Co.
  • Ventura, Carol. Maya Hair Sashes Backstrap Woven in Jacaltenango, Guatemala, Cintas Mayas tejidas con el telar de cintura en Jacaltenango, Guatemala, 2003. ISBN 0-9721253-1-0.
Apamea remissa

Apamea remissa, the dusky brocade, is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is distributed throughout Europe and Turkey, ranging across the Palearctic ecozone to Siberia, Manchuria and Japan. It has also been reported from Alaska.Some authors consider Apamea indocilis to be a subspecies of Apamea remissa.

This species has a wingspan of 36 to 42 mm. Well-marked individuals are fairly distinctive, but forms with obscure markings can be difficult to distinguish from other species. The typical form has pale greyish-brown forewings with dark markings, including a large blackish mark near the dorsum and two spots at the termen.The difference between the ground colour and the dark shading is pronounced, the ground being pale grey, often reddish tinted, and the markings blackish fuscous;some black wedge shaped marks before submarginal line; the upper stigmata whitish.The hindwings are greyish with darker venation.

This moth flies at night and is attracted to light, sugar and nectar-rich flowers. In the British Isles the moth is active in June and July.

The larva feeds on various grasses, including reedgrasses, tussock grasses, fescues, canarygrasses, and ryes. This species overwinters as a larva, feeding during mild weather.

Baduanjin qigong

The Baduanjin qigong(八段錦) is one of the most common forms of Chinese qigong used as exercise. Variously translated as Eight Pieces of Brocade, Eight-Section Brocade, Eight Silken Movements or Eight Silk Weaving, the name of the form generally refers to how the eight individual movements of the form characterize and impart a silken quality (like that of a piece of brocade) to the body and its energy. The Baduanjin is primarily designated as a form of medical qigong, meant to improve health. This is in contrast to religious or martial forms of qigong. However, this categorization does not preclude the form's use by martial artists as a supplementary exercise, and this practice is frequent.

Beau Brocade (film)

Beau Brocade is a 1916 British silent adventure film directed by Thomas Bentley and starring Mercy Hatton, Charles Rock and Austin Leigh. In eighteenth century Britain a disgraced gentlemen becomes a highwaymen. It is adapted from the novel Beau Brocade by Baroness Emmuska Orczy.

Boyar hat

The boyar hat (Russian: боярская шапка, more correct Russian name is горлатная шапка, gorlatnaya hat) was a fur hat worn by Russian nobility between the 15th and 17th centuries, most notably by boyars, for whom it was a sign of their social status. The higher hat indicated the higher status.

In average, it was one ell in height, having the form of a cylinder with more broad upper part, velvet or brocade top and the main body made of fox, marten or sable fur.

When taken off, the hat was often held above the forearm, between hand and elbow, or worn as a muff.

Today the hats of this type are sometimes used in the Russian fashion.

Brocade Communications Systems

Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. is an American technology company specializing in data and storage networking products, now a subsidiary of Broadcom Inc. Originally known for its Fibre Channel storage networks, the company expanded include a wide range of products marketed as third platform technologies. Offerings included routers and network switches for data center, campus and carrier environments, IP and Fibre Channel storage network fabrics; Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) markets such as a commercial edition of the OpenDaylight Project controller; and network management software that spans physical and virtual devices.

On November 2, 2016, Singapore-based chip maker Broadcom Limited announced it was buying Brocade for about $5.5 billion. Broadcom has since redomesticated to the United States and is now known as Broadcom Inc.

Calophasia lunula

Calophasia lunula is a species of noctuid moth known by the common names toadflax moth and toadflax brocade moth. It is used as an agent of biological pest control against yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) and Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria genistifolia ssp. dalmatica) in areas where they are considered noxious weeds, such as in North America.

The adult is a hairy gray moth about 12 millimeters long. The female lays anywhere from 30 to 80 eggs on the leaves and flowers of toadflax plants. In one to two weeks the larva emerges from the egg and begins feeding. This caterpillar undergoes five molts during a one-month period. The first-stage larva is about 5 millimeters long and dark gray in color. The eyecatching older larvae are black and white spotted with bright yellow stripes. The mature larva is about 4 centimeters long. After this stage it pupates through the winter in a cocoon of chewed plant matter and leaf litter.

Damage to the plants is done by the voracious feeding of the caterpillars. They consume all the new leaf and flower buds first and then move on to eat stems, leaves, and flowers, often to the point of complete defoliation of large numbers of toadflax plants. This does not necessarily kill the plants but it severely reduces their ability to produce seeds and propagate. Adults feed harmlessly on the plants' nectar and do not contribute to the damage.

This moth is native to Europe. It was first introduced to Canada as a biocontrol agent in the early 1960s, and to the United States shortly thereafter. The moth is now established in many areas. It tends not to establish as easily in colder climates.

Calophasia platyptera

Calophasia platyptera (antirrhinum brocade) is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is found in southern Europe, the Near East, western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia.

The wingspan is about 30 mm. Adults are on wing from early spring to November. There are multiple generations per year.

The larvae feed on the flowers and leaves of Antirrhinum and Linaria species.


Coutil (or Coutille) is woven cloth created specifically for making corsets. It is woven tightly to inhibit penetration of the corset's bones and resist stretching. Coutil has a high cotton content. Cotton has good dimensional stability, or a resistance to stretching, which makes it a good choice for such a stressed garment.

Coutil may be made to be plain (similar to 100% cotton facing), satin, or brocade. It is common for coutil to have a herringbone texture, or a similar woven texture.

Deel (clothing)

A deel (Mongolian: дээл [deːɮ]; Buryat: дэгэл, [dɛɡɛɮ]) is an item of traditional clothing commonly worn since centuries ago among the Mongols and other nomadic tribes of Central Asia, including various Turkic peoples, and can be made from cotton, silk, wool, or brocade.

The deel is still commonly worn by both men and women outside major towns, especially by herders. In urban areas, deels are mostly only worn by elderly people, or on festive occasions. The deel appears similar to a caftan or an old European folded tunic. Deels typically reach to below the wearer's knees and fan out at the bottom and are commonly blue, olive, or burgundy, though there are deels in a variety of other colors.


Eolienne (also spelled aeolian) is a lightweight fabric with a ribbed (corded) surface. Generally made by combining silk and cotton or silk and worsted warp and weft, it is similar to poplin but of an even lighter weight.In common with poplin, it was originally a dress fabric and the weave combining heavier and lighter yarns created a brocade-like surface decoration and lustrous finish. This made it popular for formal gowns such as wedding attire, especially during the Edwardian era. The addition of wool or cotton made it less expensive than pure silk while creating a luxurious effect.Its name is said to derive from Aeolus, ruler of the wind in Greek mythology.

Foundry Networks

Foundry Networks, Inc. was a networking hardware vendor selling high-end Ethernet switches and routers.


A kebaya is a traditional blouse-dress combination that originated from the court of the Majapahit Kingdom (today Indonesia), and is traditionally worn by women in Indonesia, and also Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, southern Thailand, Cambodia and the southern part of the Philippines. Similar blouses are found in Burma, where it is called htaingmathein. It is sometimes made from sheer material such as silk, thin cotton or semi-transparent nylon or polyester, adorned with brocade or floral pattern embroidery. A kebaya is usually worn with a sarong, or a batik kain panjang, or other traditional woven garment such as ikat, songket with a colorful motif.

The kebaya is the national costume of Indonesia, although it is more accurately endemic to the Javanese, Sundanese and Balinese peoples.

Lacanobia thalassina

Lacanobia thalassina, the pale-shouldered brocade, is a moth of the Noctuidae family. It is found in Europe east across the Palearctic to the Russian Far East and Siberia.

Light Brocade

Light Brocade (1931 – 1947) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. She was one of the best two-year-old fillies in England in 1933 when she won three of her four races including the Molecomb Stakes and Cheveley Park Stakes. In the following year she finished second in the 1000 Guineas before recording her biggest win in the Epsom Oaks. She was beaten in her only subsequent start and retired with a record of four wins from eight starts. She made little immediate success as a broodmare but her female-line descendants went on to have great success in Japan.

Mniotype adusta

Mniotype adusta, the dark brocade, is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It was described by Eugenius Johann Christoph Esper in 1790. It is found throughout much of the Palearctic from Europe to Japan, China and Mongolia. It is also found in North America. The habitat consists of heathland, chalky downland, fenland, moorland and upland areas.

Silk in the Indian subcontinent

Silk in the Indian subcontinent is a luxury good. In India, about 97% of the raw mulberry silk is produced in the five Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir. Mysore and North Bangalore, the upcoming site of a US$20 million "Silk City", contribute to a majority of silk production. Another emerging silk producer is Tamil Nadu where mulberry cultivation is concentrated in Salem, Erode and Dharmapuri districts. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh and Gobichettipalayam, Tamil Nadu were the first locations to have automated silk reeling units.


Vyatta is a subsidiary of American telecommunications company AT&T that provides software-based virtual router, virtual firewall and VPN products for Internet Protocol networks (IPv4 and IPv6). A free download of Vyatta has been available since March 2006. The system is a specialized Debian-based Linux distribution with networking applications such as Quagga, OpenVPN, and many others. A standardized management console, similar to Juniper JUNOS or Cisco IOS, in addition to a web-based GUI and traditional Linux system commands, provides configuration of the system and applications. In recent versions of Vyatta, web-based management interface is supplied only in the subscription edition. However, all functionality is available through KVM, serial console or SSH/telnet protocols. The software runs on standard x86-64 servers.

Vyatta is also delivered as a virtual machine file and can provide (vrouter, vfirewall, VPN) functionality for Xen, VMware, KVM, Rackspace, SoftLayer, and Amazon EC2 virtual and cloud computing environments. As of October, 2012, Vyatta has also been available through Amazon Marketplace and can be purchased as a service to provide VPN, cloud bridging and other network functions to users of Amazon's AWS services.

Vyatta sells a subscription edition that includes all the functionality of the open source version as well as a graphical user interface, access to Vyatta's RESTful API's, Serial Support, TACACS+, Config Sync, System Image Cloning, software updates, 24x7 phone and email technical support, and training. Certification as a Vyatta Professional is now available. Vyatta also offers professional services and consulting engagements.

The Vyatta system is intended as a replacement for Cisco IOS 1800 through ASR 1000 series Integrated Services Routers (ISR) and ASA 5500 security appliances, with a strong emphasis on the cost and flexibility inherent in an open source, Linux-based system running on commodity x86 hardware or in VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, Open Source Xen and KVM virtual environments.

In 2012, Brocade Communications Systems acquired Vyatta. In April, 2013, Brocade renamed the product from the Vyatta Subscription Edition (VSE) to the Brocade Vyatta 5400 vRouter. The latest commercial release of the Brocade vRouter is no longer open-source based.

In June 2017, Brocade sold Vyatta Software Technology to AT&T Communications.Vyatta vRouter technology is still used by several actors on the vRouter market.


Yunjin, also called cloud brocade, is a traditional Chinese silk brocade made in Jiangsu since the end of the Song dynasty, and based on weft-weaving techniques from both the Song and Tang dynasties. It is shuttle-woven, and often incorporates gold and silver threads with the coloured silks. During the Ming dynasty, the yunjin weavers developed a technique of swivel weaving that enabled them to weave colourful designs onto a base fabric in other weaves, such as satin. Nanjing Yunjin Museum is currently the only specialized museum in Yunjin.


Zari (or Jari) is an even thread traditionally made of fine gold or silver used in traditional Indian, and Pakistani garments, especially as brocade in saris etc. This thread is woven into fabrics, primarily made of silk to create intricate patterns. It is believed this tradition started during the Mughal era and the Surat pot being linked to the Haj pilgrims and Indians was a major factor for introducing this craft in India.

During the Vedic ages, zari was associated with the grand attired of Gods, kings and literary figures. Today, in most fabrics, zari is not made of real gold and silver, but has cotton or polyester yarn at its core, wrapped by golden/silver metallic yarn.

Zari is the main material in most silk sarees and gharara. It is also used in other garments made of silk, like skirts, tops and veshtis.

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