Drama Review: The Sword and The Brocade ( Wallace Chung, Tan Song Yun)

Drama Review: The Sword and The Brocade ( Wallace Chung, Tan Song Yun)

I decided to look back in 2021 and watch The Sword and the brocade since my sister said it was a great drama so I wanted to witness it myself. This is a full review on The sword and brocade.

First impressions.

This drama was suggested to me as a great drama so I had high expectations, where my expectations met? We’ll see in the end. Firstly, I’d like to thank those who bought me a coffee through the cup on the right, I really appreciate your support. Your donations will help in improving Chinese Drama World and turn it into a home for Chinese drama lovers. I wasn’t impressed with the first episode if I can be honest. The opening theme had a great song but the transition of the slideshow seemed to be a bit fast. Seven Tan’s voice as Shiyi is also not suitable for her, I have watched Under the power and I expected a similar if not same voice. The story was predictable in the first 10 minutes and then went blurry. I’m just referring to the first episode, maybe the drama will surprise me as I continue to watch it.


Set during the Ming Dynasty, the story revolves around the romance between General Xu Ling Yi and the concubine’s daughter Shi Yi Niang, that starts from an arranged marriage. Despite being born with a low status, Shi Yi Niang is extremely assertive and believes that a woman’s vision should not be limited to the household. She hopes to rely on her embroidery skills as a ticket to freedom. However, the once esteemed Luo family is in a state of decline. Hoping to save the clan through a marriage alliance, Shi Yi Niang is selected to become the wife of Yongping Duke and great General Xu Ling Yi. Things were not easy for her due to the Xu family’s biases towards her. Nonetheless, she manages to win over their trust through her optimism and sincerity. Xu Ling Yi also becomes attracted to her various beautiful qualities such that husband and wife manage to find love after marriage.

Through Xu Ling Yi’s support, Shi Yi Niang opens Xian Ling Pavillion to have her own embroidery workshop. Meanwhile, Xu Ling Yi experiences many setbacks as he tries to protect his homeland and improve the livelihood of the people by supporting the lifting of a maritime ban. As they face a crisis that could spell the end for the Xu family, Xu Ling Yi and Shi Yi Niang continue to support each other through thick and thin.

The Good.

1. Great Villain.

Few weeks back, I wrote a review about ‘Rebirth for you’ complaining about the villain. They made the villain take the main leads’ spotlight, the drama felt like it’s the story of Miaorong, but things are different in this drama. Not only do they balance the appearance of characters, they also have Concubine Qiao as a great villain. I knew her from Legend of the Phoenix (main role) and Jun Jiu Ling (Guest appearance), but I never saw her as a villain. She is a great actress, her villain character has this power to make you hate her. She may be following the script but her acting skills are on another level, it’s like she locked herself in a room and practised her lines until she morphed into this character. She may be annoying in each and every episode but she is definitely one of the best villains that had a good build up. Shiyi is also an amazing character, she is like sleeping lioness, she won’t do anything to you as long as you don’t provoke her. They didn’t just portray her as the smartest person but she is smart. Just like Jackie Chan in his movies, he gets beaten and learns from the beating to get stronger, same like Shiyi, they do set traps for her and she fells for them but she quickly manages to punch back harder than before.

2. Storyline.

One thing I like about the storyline of this drama is the family saga. Unlike most historical dramas, this drama doesn’t focus on the ‘palace’, they just added some government related plots just to display the power difference between the families in the drama and it was also because they wanted to cook up the rivalry between the Xus and Ous. The storyline is 95% ‘family issues’ and that’s actually a great thing because there are many ideas writers can come up with to keep the story going, you get to see the troubles of having concubines, being a concubine’s offspring, being a legitimate child and managing a big household. There are lots of challenges in the Xu family that got me glued on the screen. I admit, some of the scenes were predictable but it didn’t do any harm.

There are actually other things like Chemistry but I don’t really have to get deep into it because their chemistry wasn’t good and it was also not bad at all. They trusted each other as the drama continued and that made them inseparable even though many people tried separating them.

The bad.

1. Why the mustache?

It’s reasonable for characters to have one or two changes in their appearance when there’s a time skip involved and I get the idea of a mustache but did they really have to use it on the Xu brothers? It would’ve been better if they just used the children and change the granny’s hair to show the time skip, I really don’t see any use of the mustache because it wasn’t convincing, they forced it.


From my view, this drama is trying to show us how women were treated in the olden days, you can tell from the way the old madam can just decide to pass her maid to his son as a concubine and being a concubine is no joke. The women were all oppressed by laws and were only expected to make kids and raise them while men are working, so what about their dreams? It’s been a long drama(45 episodes) but it was educational and entertaining, it felt realistic. If you’re reading this and you never watched the drama, make sure you watch before this year ends, you won’t regret it.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *