There are two ways of expressing "nishiki" in a Chinese character. According to a dictionary, it is said that the character "nishiki" was made by laying two characters "kin" and "kinu" (which mean gold and silk) side by side, for patterns for nishiki are woven with variously colored silk threads and the price is very expensive like gold.
Nishiki can be roughly classified into two kinds - "keikin" and "ikin". In the former the background color and the patterns are effected by colored warps, and in the latter effected by colored wefts. These nishiki were already used as the coats for noble men in the Chou Period (B.C12-3Century) in China, and since then they have been admired by people as a gorgeous and expensive fabric.In Japan some records for nishiki can be seen in such old books as Kojiki and Nippon Shoki.
Throughout intervening centuries nishiki has been used for costumes, sash materials, mounting, altar cloths, surplices and Noh costumes.
The kinds of nishiki are so many today, however, and nishiki becomes a popular name for all silk fabrics of which exquisite patterns are woven by using wefts of various materials including threads and leaves in gold and silver.