- Title: The Sword and The Brocade
- Also known as:: 锦心似玉, Brocade Heart Like Jade, Story Of An Illegitimate Daughter, Jin Xin Si Yu, Brilliant Heart Like Jade, Lady Shiyi
- Director: Wen De Guang
- Screenwriter: Cheng Ting Yu
- Genres: Romance, Drama, Mystery, Historical, Harem
- Country: China
- Number of Episodes: 45
- Year: 2021
- Original Network: Tencent Video
- Where to Watch: Tencent Video, We TV, Viki
- Adapted from the novel “The Concubine-born Daughter’s Strategies” by Zhi Zhi
The Sword and The Brocade Synopsis
The Sword and The Brocade is a Chinese romance drama released in 2021. This drama has total 45 episodes. The story is about Luo Shi Yi Niang is a low-key concubine daughter from the Luo Family. She is a smart, broad-minded, and talented woman. However, because she was a concubine daughter, she must accept the fate that her life was treated as a tool to save her family from declining. Under the oppression of the legal wife, Shi Yi was forced to accept the proposal of a scum male. To save herself and her mother, Shi Yi decided to runaway with her mother and her maid. Unfortunately, before the journey started, her mother was murdered.
Driven by the will to find the truth about her mother’s murder, Shi Yi must scheme to be married off to the Xu Family. She will replace her sickly sister as the wife of Duke Yongping, General Xu Ling Yi, and take care of her nephew Zhun.
Her life in the Xu family is not an easy life. The once carefree Shi Yi must face a biased mother-in-law, an indifferent husband, scheming concubines, as well as conduct a secret investigation to find her mother’s killer.
However, with her sincerity and kindness, Shi Yi was able to win the heart of the cold General Xu Ling Yi. Their love life starts to bloom and she finally has a will to find love after the marriage. However, fate has a different plan for Shi Yi and Ling Yi. The blooming love has to experience setbacks because of her mother’s case. Meanwhile, Ling Yi also faces hardships in his career.
Will Shi Yi and Ling Yi be able to mend their relationship? Or would a divorce letter end everything?
The Sword and The Brocade Review
The drama opens with a dramatic scene of young Shi Yi being flogged because she broke Yuan Niang’s hairpin. Her mother tries to save her but has a miscarriage instead.
It was a bloody and cruel scene, but the intention of drawing viewers’ attention was successful. At least, it does get me hooked… for a while 😆
The Sword and The Brocade ran at a slow pace, and the theme was also a cliché. A concubine-born girl has to deal with a cunning official wife and legal daughter without the protection of an indifferent father. After that, she was married off as the second wife of an indifferent husband. The typical life of unfavored children of a noble family.
However, as the story unfolds, I feel the urge to say that this is not the best drama of Tan Song Yun and Wallace Chung. The story was flat and their chemistry was vague.
I watched Wallace Chung for the first time in General and I, a 2017 drama. I also watched him in My Sunshine, All Out of Love, and the last one is in the Adoring movie. He was handsome and his acting was also good. Tan Song Yun was also my favorite actress. I praised her acting in Under The Power and Master of My Own. She was adorable and awesome.
Good Act, Lacks of Chemistry
In this drama, The Sword and The Brocade, Wallace Chung and Tan Song Yun gave a very good performance. You can easily read their characters, and their character development was noticeable too. But it feels like two incompatible delicious meals on the dinner table. I had a good time enjoying their acting, but I don’t feel the chemistry around them. 🤷♀️
The rest of the casts also consists of familiar faces and veteran actors. Just looking at the lineup, The Sword and The Brocade already promise you an enjoyable watching experience.
But, I was wrong. Despite the impressive lineup of actors, the story itself seems to be missing in direction.
Some of The Story
The case of Shi Yi’s mother’s murder was the opening key to the Sword and the Brocade conflicts. Shi Yi held the evidence which made her suspect the Xu Family. To be specific, she suspected the murderer was Xu Ling Yi. To investigate him, she decided to marry Ling Yi. Anyhow, after she enters the Xu family, Shi Yi learns that the Xu family has a feud with the Ou family and further investigation points out that the real killer comes from the Ou family.
The Xus and the Ous were contradictory in politics and principle. Xu Ling Yi was a pro of the sea-ban issues, while the Marquis Jing Yuan from the Ou family insisted on preventing the sea ban because he was colluding with the pirates. Besides that, The Ou has a connection with the death of the late Duke Yongping and Ling Yi’s elder brother.
And on the other hand, there was the harem struggle. The bloody battle between Ling Yi’s wives. If you dig deeper, this struggle is not as simple as it seems. Everybody fights for Ling Yi’s love and favor. But they also have another interest: power. With the power of Duke Yongping Manor, they will be able to support their clan, accordingly.
Those problems were somehow linked in the middle. However, I do feel that the story wasn’t linked flawlessly. They seem to be forced and I feel like watching two different dramas, instead of one. 🤷♀️
At least, The Sword and The Brocade have some positive appraisals for me. And I bet, once you watch this drama, you will agree with what I said next.
Beautiful Costumes and Sets
The Sword and The Brocade offer you magnificent costumes and sets. I was amazed to see the female costumes in this drama. They were exquisite and carefully designed. And check out the embroidery and colors. They were magnifico!
The costumes were simple, without intricate designs. The elders wear a darker color and the youngsters wore lighter-colored gowns. Combined with the hairdo and the hair accessories, they make a perfect ensemble for every character in this drama. I’m having a good time enjoying the costumes.
The sets are also arranged meticulously and beautifully. It was such a feast for my eyes…😍
The Sword and The Brocade Romance
The relationship between Shi Yi and Ling Yi was quite natural and slow-paced. You won’t see any love at first sight between them. On the contrary, both of them held some resentment towards each other and were forced to be married. Shi Yi suspected her husband as her mother’s killer, while Ling Yi loathed Shi Yi and her sister, Yuan Niang, for plotting against him and Madam Qiao.
Despite his resentment towards Shi Yi, Ling Yi is a kind person and tries to treat Shi Yi nicely. Deep down inside, Ling Yi realizes that he treated his way in a bad way. His backyard was full of schemes from his wives. Therefore, he tries to treat Shi Yi a little bit better than his concubines (well, it is also probably because of his promise to Yuan Niang).
Shi Yi treated her nephew just like her own son. She was sincere toward the boy, compared to other concubines who had hidden motives behind their attentive behavior. Shi Yi’s sincerity moved Ling Yi. He started to fall in love with her and he showed his attentive and protective side to Shi Yi.
Shi Yi, who was a broad-minded person but lacked experience in love, slowly fell for all the attention. Finally, they have mutual feelings for each other. However, fate decided to test their feelings with a myriad of hardships. To save her, Ling Yi gave Shi Yi a letter of divorce. But Shi Yi refuses to use it and chooses to wait for him, even though it means that she has to face the wrath of Madam Xu. And Shi Yi was willing to face execution to save Ling Yi.
There was a funny scene on their wedding night. It was said that the age gap between Xu Ling Yi and Shi Yi was quite big. Since Ling Yi looked very mature but Shi Yi was very young. But on the wedding night, both parties would just sit side by side awkwardly. Shi Yi tries to escape from the situation, but instead, she trips and falls onto him because Ling Yi is sitting on her dress. And after the short encounter, both of them return to their position awkwardly, again… 😆 Ckckck… As a man with 4 wives, you should be more versed, Ling Yi…😆
In my opinion, most of the characters in this Cdrama were horrible.
Yuan Niang (played by Ying Er) was a scheming woman. A great example of the idiom is “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. Madam Luo (played by Fang Xiao Li) is such a scary woman. She was ruthless and domineering. She loves to threaten everyone to obey her. And her daughter, Yuan Niang, learns from her. Yuan Niang schemes her husband several times. First, she let her maid seduce her husband, and later, she schemed for another woman to be her husband’s concubine, and she also forces her husband to marry her sister. All of it was for the sake of her love and her son.
But speaking of the devil, the second character that I hate is Xu Ling Yi himself. He was such a bad example for a husband. He neglected his legal wife, his concubines, and his sons. Xu Ling Yi had a lack of affection, but he succeeded in marrying a wife, a second wife, and three concubines.
When he saw them fighting for a favor just after Yuan Niang’s death, he looked at them from afar and said with a sad face, “What is the use of having such wives..”. Oh, man! What is the main reason for you, whose affection was about the size of a pea, to take so many wives? You might treat them nicely by providing for their needs, but a wife also needs her husband’s affection. And you lacked it!!!🤯
In the end, Xu Ling Yi might have fallen in love with Shi Yi and both of them had a mutual affection. But it doesn’t make me hate him less.
The third villain that I hate is Madam Xu (Wu Mian), Xu Ling Yi’s mother. She was the epitome of a horrible mother-in-law. She was biased and cannot see the truth and also easily manipulated by Qiao Lian Fang. Madam Xu didn’t like Shi Yi and always try to make everything hard for her. But when she found out that Shi Yi brought her benefits, she turned her head to Shi Yi.
In every harem Cdrama, there was always someone like Qiao Lian Fang (He Hong Shan). A pretty girl with a delusional mind. She thinks that because she loves someone, that person should love her back. And if she did something bad to achieve her desire, it was OK. It meant she was striving hard (in a positive way) to achieve her dream. Goodness, gracious!! What a terrible person.
Qiao Lian Fand had the backup of her family and Madam Xu. She successfully schemed on Yuan Niang and killed her. She also tries to murder Shi Yi multiple times. Thank goodness, Ling Yi was able to catch her red-handed. The cute He Hong Shan is perfectly suited for this role. Her innocent appearance hides all the schemes that she did for half of the drama. She also did a great job performing as Qiao Lian Fang.
Shi Yi’s sister, another concubine born, Er Niang (Charry Qi), was also hateful. She is an envious person and desires to be married to Duke Yongping’s family as Xu Ling Yi’s second wife. Er Niang tries everything to win Madam Lao and Yuan Niang’s favor. In this way, they would choose her to be Yuan Niang’s replacement. She even schemed toward Wen Yu, the young master of the Jiang family, when she heard that the Jiang family wanted to propose to her instead of Shi Yi. But her plan backfired and she still had to be married off to the Jiangs.
Our second male lead, Ou Yan Xing/Lin Shi Xian (Tan Xiao Tian), is a merchant who hides his real identity as the second son of Ou’s family. He resented his family for treating his mother unfairly. Ou Yan Xing falls in love with Shi Yi and has a deep affection for her. But his character was quite dull. He was a kind person and was torn between the feud of the Xus and the Ous because of his love for Shi Yi. In the end, Ou Yan Xing gives up his feelings for Shi Yi because he thinks that Ling Yi is a better choice for Shi Yi. Poor Ou Yan Xing…🥲
All in all, I would give this drama a solid 7,2/10. The story might be lacking, the chemistry of the characters was vague, but the casts performance were amazing. Not to mention the beautiful costumes and sets. I really admire this part.
You might see this drama as a typical harem troupe and the scheming was tiring. But if you like this kind of story, go for it! And if it’s not your kind of story, you may shift your attention to the feud between the Xu and the Ous.
Therefore, don’t forget to pile up your snack and get yourself a cozy couch. Happy watching!