A Weaver on the Horizon

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A Weaver on the Horizon
A Weaver on the Horizon (promotional poster)-.jpg
Official poster
Also known asClothing the World
The Legend of a Weaver
The Tale of the Royal Seamstress
The Weaver
GenreHistorical fiction
Directed byLee Kwok-lap
Wei Hantao
Lin Yufen
Liang Shengquan
Li Huizhu
StarringJanine Chang
Justin Yuan
Cecilia Liu
Edwin Siu
Opening themeForever Believe (永远相信) by Kelly Chen
ComposerMak Chun Hung
Country of originChina
Original languageMandarin
No. of episodes36
ProducersKaren Tsoi
Lee Kwok-lap
Production locationChina
Running time45 minutes per episode
Production companyChinese Entertainment Shanghai
Original networkNanning Television
Original release14 August 2010 (2010-08-14)
A Weaver on the Horizon
A Weaver on the Horizon (intertitle).jpg
A Weaver on the Horizon intertitle
(Traditional Chinese version)
Traditional Chinese天涯織女
Simplified Chinese天涯织女

A Weaver on the Horizon (Chinese: 天涯织女) is a 2010 Chinese television series based on the life story of Huang Daopo, who revolutionized the textile industry during the Mongol conquest of the Song dynasty and the beginning of the Yuan dynasty. The story is considered to be historical fiction, as the plot deviates from factual accounts. A notable feature of the series is that more focus is placed on the female protagonists than their male counterparts. The series premiered on Nanning Television on 14 August 2010 and ran for 36 episodes.


Huang Qiao'er (Ivy Lu, Janine Chang) was born to a poverty-stricken family. She lost her parents at an early age and was raised by her aunt, who taught her textile arts. While growing up in a textile mill, Huang developed a close bond with the neighboring dyehouse owner's son, Fang Ning (Edwin Siu), who fell in love with her. Eventually, Splendid Mill's weavers produce outstanding results and earn an opportunity to work in the imperial palace. Through Huang's friendship with the emperor's niece, Zhao Jiayi (Cecilia Liu), Huang is able to gain access to the palace's study, deepening her knowledge of weaving from its collection. However, the weavers become embroiled in a power struggle with the emperor's concubines, as well as a rivalry with the Iridescent Cloud Mill's weavers, who also work at the palace.

While in the palace, Huang falls in love with a young general, Lin Mufei (Justin Yuan), at the expense of her friendship with the princess. Lin also rejects the princess' affections, due to his despise against imperial family members' corruption, and in spite of his vows to defend the Song dynasty. During Lin's absence, Fang Ning's legs are crippled while saving Huang from the corrupt members of the imperial court. Feeling guilty for Fang's plight, and hearing rumors that Lin had been killed in battle at the city of Chuzhou (present day Huai'an), Huang decides to marry Fang. Lin, however, has survived and is heartbroken when he sees the two marry, thus complicating the love triangle between Lin, Huang, and Zhao Jiayi.

Despite Huang Qiao'er's awareness that she cannot be with the man she still loves, due to her marriage to another, she recognizes that being Fang Ning's wife also has its benefits. Her mother-in-law (Cheng Pei-pei) imparts the family's dyeing secrets, which helps her hone her textile skills. However, Fang is aware that his wife still has feelings towards Lin Mufei. This prompts Fang to become an alcoholic, leading him to repeatedly abuse her under intoxication and jealousy. As for Zhao Jiayi, she remains devoted to Lin, and, after learning that he did not die, eventually sneaks away from the palace to search for him. With the help of Lin's mother, Zhao locates him in the city of Changzhou. She claims that she only wishes to be with Lin Mufei in battle, regardless of whether he would ultimately love her or not.

Not long afterwards, the Mongols, who establish the Yuan dynasty under the leadership of Kublai Khan, conquer the Song dynasty. After going through a series of personal misfortunes and tragedies, Lin is traumatized and decides to focus on protecting Zhao Jiayi, and her surviving clan members, as well as liberating China from the Mongols' tyranny. For three years, while battling their enemies and taking care of one another, Lin and Zhao begin to develop a close bond and mutual understanding. Zhao helps Lin nurse his despairs, resulting from Huang's marriage to Fang Ning and his mother's execution by one of their adversaries. He starts to reciprocate the princess's affection, when he realizes that there is more to her than her apparent vain behavior.

While fleeing from the Mongols' conquest, Huang has a chance encounter with an extraordinary woodwork instructor, Feng Jiujin (Damian Lau), and becomes his apprentice. She ultimately wanders to Yazhou (present day Hainan), where she learns the arts of cotton farming and weaving, and helps the natives improve their textile technology.

Years after Fang Ning's death, Huang finally resolves the entanglement with Lin and Zhao, by reuniting with them in the city of Hangzhou (former Song capital Lin'an). Huang sadly realizes that she has inadvertently brought two men who loved her nothing but heartbreak, instead of happiness. Regretting her mistakes, she gives her blessing to Lin and Zhao of their newfound love for each other, and accepts her fate as a widow. Huang also realizes her goal of revolutionizing the art of textile manufacturing, for the welfare of her people. With support from her family and friends, Huang becomes an innovator of the Chinese textile industry. After numerous battles against the Yuan forces with Song remnants, the Battle of Yamen officially ends to the Song dynasty. Lin and Zhao, after enduring these defeats, realize that the enemy is too powerful and not yet ready for the resistance to overthrow. Yearning for to escape from the violence and tragedies in their lives, they choose to elope and go into seclusion together.

Lin Mufei and Zhao Jiayi are happily married and return to Hangzhou after spending three years in hiding. By this time, the Splendid Mill and Fang Family Dyehouse have brought in many apprentices and achieved business success, with Huang Qiao'er fulfilling her purpose in life.


Splendid Mill[edit]

Cast Role Description
Janine Chang Huang Qiao'er An orphaned weaver from Songjiang Town, her works innovate the textile industry and help save many people from poverty after the rise of the Yuan dynasty. She later becomes known as Huang Daopo.
Ivy Lu Huang Qiao'er
Tao Huimin Wen Ruolan Huang's mother, who entrusts her daughter to Rong Xiuman before her death
Amy Chan Rong Xiuman The senior and sworn sister of Huang's mother, who teaches Huang textile arts
Zhao Yue Nanny Yuan The weavers' nanny
Amber Xu Hu Xiaomei Huang's neighbor and childhood friend
Chen Manyuan Hu Xiaomei
Han Xiao Cheng Nianxiang Huang's eldest senior
Shi Jiahe Cheng Nianxiang
Li Jinming He Xiaoyi Huang's friend who has a handicapped leg
He Siying He Xiaoyi
Li Qian Tao Qianqian Huang's friend, who is married to the Mongol prince Eerde in Zhao Jiayi's place. She later becomes known as Princess Jiashan.
Li Chen Tao Qianqian
Huang Shijia Xiaoqing One of Huang's students

Song imperial family (House of Zhao)[edit]

Cast Role Description
Cecilia Liu Zhao Jiayi An orphaned daughter of the late Emperor Lizong, who was raised by Emperor Duzong and is known as Princess Jiayi. Through her interactions with Huang Qiao'er, the princess has learned the textile arts. After the capital Lin'an has captured, she trains herself in martial arts including dual wielding swordplay, first aid, and other survival skills while fleeing from the Mongols with the Song remnants.
Wang Gang Emperor Duzong of Song Zhao Jiayi's paternal uncle and adoptive father, who is an incompetent, promiscuous, and alcohol-abusing ruler
Chen Ting Concubine E Ling'er Zhao Jiayi's maternal aunt and adoptive mother
Tang Yifei Concubine Han Concubine E Ling'er's rival

Song imperial court[edit]

Cast Role Description
Justin Yuan Lin Mufei A young general from a family of military personnel who hero-worships the legendary Song general Yue Fei, he becomes a leader of the resistance against the Yuan dynasty, after the fall of the Song dynasty.
Guo Jun Li Ao A former subordinate of Lin Mufei who lusts for Zhao Jiayi, he becomes an archenemy of the two and defects to the Mongols.
Zhao Yi Han Tong A subordinate of Lin Mufei and member of the resistance.
Ma Fei Wu Qingtong Another subordinate of Lin Mufei and member of the resistance.
Zhang Lei Zhao Zhe A corrupt official who lusts for Huang Qiao'er, he works for the Yuan governments, after the fall of the Song dynasty.
Niu Ben Eunuch Wang An attendant of the imperial kitchen who befriends Lin Mufei and Huang Qiao'er.

Fang Family Dyehouse[edit]

Cast Role Description
Edwin Siu Fang Ning A close friend of Huang Qiao'er, who has been in love with her for a long time, eventually marrying her
Cheng Pei-pei Mrs. Fang Mother of Fang Ning, Fang Po, and Fang Jing, she is the owner of the Fang Family Dyehouse and instructs Huang in dyeing
Zheng Guolin Fang Po Fang Ning's older brother and close friend of the Splendid Mill's weavers
He Yan Fang Jing Older sister of Fang Po and Fang Ning
He Jianze Shi Pujie Fang Jing's lover and a worker of the Fang Family Dyehouse


Cast Role Description
Liu Dong A'dong A Yazhou native and widower, who teaches Huang and Rong cotton tillage.
Guo Xiaoting Fu Yaya A'dong's neighbor, who teaches Huang and Rong the basics of cotton weaving, which they incorporate with their own knowledge of textile arts. Huang later accepts her as one of her apprentices, increasing her own knowledge.


Cast Role Description
Damian Lau Feng Jiujin Real name Yelü Ximu; he is actually a son of a Khitan noble, Yelü Chucai, and thus a descendant of the royal family of the Liao dynasty. The educated artisan Feng instructs Huang in woodwork.
Ethan Yao Yelü Ximu
(young man)
Li Qingxiang Taoist Sun Sarcastic but wise, Taoist heals Fang Ning and Feng Jiujin
Jerry Cheng Huang Chunyao Huang's father and Rong Xiuman's former fiancé
Dai Chunrong Mrs. Guan Owner of Iridescent Cloud Mill and Rong Xiuman's business rival.
Yan Yongxuan Wang Ying Lin Mufei's mother.
Lou Yejiang Eerde A Mongol prince.


The Song and Mongol military costumes are originally made for the two television series The Young Warriors (2006) and The Legend of the Condor Heroes (2008).

Originally considered for the part of Huang Qiao'er by the casting department, Cecilia Liu expressed her interest to portray Zhao Jiayi instead, after reading the script. As a result, Janine Chang was chosen for the starring role.[1]

Deviations from historic accounts[edit]

In Chinese history, Emperor Lizong and Emperor Duzong of the Song dynasty were actually uncle and nephew. In A Weaver on the Horizon, they are changed to brothers to explain Zhao Jiayi's existence. In reality, Zhao Jiayi never existed and is a fictional character solely created for A Weaver on the Horizon. The screenwriters were unwilling to write Zhao as the daughter of Duzong due to his well-known corrupted reputations that contributed of fall of the Song dynasty.

Almost all of the characters in the series are fictional except Huang Daopo, Emperor Duzong, Mongol general Bayan, and Yelü Chucai. Most of the plot does not match actual historic accounts. There are references to the death of Emperor Duzong, the succession and abdication of Emperor Gongzong, Battle of Xiangyang, Battle of Yamen and the deaths of the Song's last two emperors; Emperor Duanzong and Emperor Huaizong.

Deleted scenes[edit]

Several websites aired different scenes that were deleted from the series:

  • Huang Qiao'er first meets the Fang brothers during their childhood.[2]
  • Death of A'dong's fiancée Dandan (portrayed by Janine Chang).[2]
  • Huang Qiao'er and Rong Xiuman being burned at the stake on Yazhou.[3]
  • Lin Mufei and Zhao Jiayi returning home as husband and wife in the series finale.[4]


The series was well received in mainland China, earning high ratings and acclaim for good performance and a portrayal of inspirational female characters.[5][6]

International broadcast[edit]

Country Network(s)/Station(s) Series premiere Title
 Thailand TPBS January 27, 2013 ผ้าทอชีวิต (Pha Thor Cheewit; literally Woven Life[7])
 Sri Lanka Rupavahini July 4, 2016 සන්නාලියනේ (Sannaliyane)[8]


  1. ^ 劉詩詩入主《衣被天下》 首度挑戰刁蠻公主 Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. Eladies.sina.com.cn. Retrieved on 2012-01-19.
  2. ^ a b ent.sina.com.cn Archived 2012-10-16 at the Wayback Machine. ent.sina.com.cn. Retrieved on 2012-01-19.
  3. ^ beta.ctv.com.tw[dead link]
  4. ^ beta.ctv.com.tw[dead link]
  5. ^ "《天涯织女》收视高涨 女性观众反响强烈". NetEase. Archived from the original on 2017-10-09. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  6. ^ "《天涯织女》创收视新高 郑国霖获女性观众青睐". Tencent. Archived from the original on 2017-10-09. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  7. ^ "ซีรีส์จีน ผ้าทอชีวิต : เรื่องย่อ". TPBS. 18 August 2015. Archived from the original on 29 April 2015. Thai: ภาษาไทย
  8. ^ "Family Series - Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation". 26 June 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-06-26.

External links[edit]