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The Sword and The Brocade Ep 13

Episode 13 – Recap

Wuniang hears from her husband that Xu Zhun is sick. Knowing that this would make Shiyi’s days at the Xu manor bad, Wuniang decides to pay her a visit. She wants to bring a gift too, but finds out that her family’s money has been used up. Her husband brings up the idea of opening a dried fruits shop to earn extra income, and suggests partnering up with the Xu family through Shiyi. Wuniang agrees to ask, and offers to use the bird’s nest from her dowry as a gift.

Shiyi enlists the help of Xu Yu and finds out about the contaminated puppy. Wuniang visits at this time, so Shiyi exchanges clothes with her to sneak out of her courtyard (apropos of her being grounded). She finds and brings the puppy to Lingyi. The physician examines the puppy and confirms that it has tinea. Madame Xu tries to downplay the issue by saying Xu Zhun’s illness is an accident. The physician clearly looks like he wants to say something against that, but doesn’t. Lianfang is caught red handed, but tries to play innocent. She is let off the hook due to Madame Xu’s favoritism. 

Recap by Vanilla Muse. Please read this on vmnovels (dot) com

Under Shiyi’s care, Xu Zhun gets better. Even Madame Xu has to acknowledge this and return Xu Zhun’s care to Shiyi. This ends her grounding.

Lianfang pretends to be reflecting and repenting by praying for Xu Zhun’s wellness and not eating. She grows weak and Lingyi is forced to pay her a visit. Lianfang keeps playing innocent, but Lingyi gives her a warning instead and says he’ll drop the issue since Xu Zhun got better. He also asks after the whereabouts of Mrs. Liu and Lianfang says she’s been dismissed due to her negligence with Shiyi’s care.

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The Sword and The Brocade Ep 12

Episode 12 – Recap

Shiyi and Dongqing escape from their holding place and the kidnappers give chase. They run into Master Jian and Zhenxing halfway. The men that Zhenxing brought with him chase off the kidnappers and Shiyi is saved. Shiyi then pretends like she was strolling on the streets and gets Lingyi’s subordinates to escort her back to Luo manor.

On the carriage ride back to the Xu manor, Shiyi hints to Lingyi that there is something off about the two bodyguards assigned to her. She also points out how she should thank Lianfang for specifically accompanying Lingyi to come pick her up. Lingyi understands right away and promises to investigate the two bodyguards.

Back at the Xu manor, there is a sweet moment between Shiyi, Dongqing, and Amber. Shiyi thanks them for looking out for her, and gives them two hairpins from her dowry as a sign of her gratitude towards them.

Recap by Vanilla Muse. Please read this on vmnovels (dot) com

Lingyi scolds Lianfang for what happened with Shiyi and hints that he knows this was her doing.

Lianfang brings back a contaminated puppy and Xu Zhun gets infected with ringworms by playing with the puppy. She also told Xu Zhun to keep it a secret that he’s playing with the puppy. So everytime he gets better, he gets worse right away, because he keeps going back to the puppy and no one else knows this.

Madame Xu claims that Shiyi doesn’t know how to take care of children, because Xu Zhun got sick and banned her from taking care of him, effectively grounding her within her courtyard. Then she lets Lianfang take care of Xu Zhun.

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The Sword and The Brocade Ep 11

Episode 11

Shiyi can’t find any clues in the main Xu manor and wants to go to the Xu villa to check the old fabrics there. Serendipitously, Danyang meets a fortune teller who tells her to stay away from people born in the year of the ox during her pregnancy. [This smells like Lianfang’s doing again.] Shiyi – born in the year of the ox – happily agrees to go to the villa. 

After finding a clue, Shiyi goes out to meet Master Jian to consult her expertise. The head maid of the villa assigns two bodyguards to go with Shiyi. When Shiyi leaves Xianling Pavilion, the two guards are gone. An old woman tricks Shiyi and Dongqing away to a quiet place, and they are kidnapped.

This was all Lianfang’s plan to discredit Shiyi, because once a woman spends a night outside unaccounted for, people will assume she’s been defiled or is a loose woman.

[I think Amber really shone in this scene. She is restricted by her status in society, but she keeps calm and firm, and seeks help for Shiyi in a way that would be most beneficial to Shiyi. Master Jian and Shiyi’s older brother, Luo Zhenxing, were also MVPs. Zhenxing wanted to alert the authorities to find his little sister as quickly as possible because he’s genuinely concerned for her safety. Doing this however will alert everyone that Shiyi has been kidnapped and thus put her chastity into question. But he is ready to take care of her for life if the Xu family doesn’t want her anymore. Master Jian is aware that this is exactly what the kidnappers want to happen. Once Shiyi’s chastity is called into question, her status in the Xu family will become shaky and her days will be like living hell, so she cautions them not to go to the authorities just yet.]

Recap by Vanilla Muse. Please read this on vmnovels (dot) com

Lingyi returns from a long trip away and finds out that Shiyi was sent to the villa because of some superstitious fortune telling. He is incensed and insists on bringing her back right away. Lianfang pretends to be concerned about Shiyi, but she is secretly stirring up shit again. She tells them that Shiyi is with her maternal family, because she is too picky about the conditions of the villa. She accompanies Lingyi to the Luo manor in order to force them to admit that Shiyi is missing. Madame Luo saw through her schemes right away. [I dislike both Lianfang and Madame Luo, but it sure was satisfying to see Madame Luo put Lianfang in her place.]

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The Sword and The Brocade Ep 1-10

Episodes 1-10

The show opens up with a rainy sky. Luo Shiyi (the FL) and her biological mother, Madame Lu, are kneeling outside in the rain. Madame Luo (the main wife of the Luo household) is sitting indoors enjoying her tea and admiring her jewels while Madame Lu begs her to forgive Shiyi for breaking Yuanniang’s hairpin. (Yuanniang is Madame Luo’s biological daughter.) Because Shiyi is stubborn and won’t apologize she gets beaten.

Fast forward to the present. Through dialogue, we learn that Shiyi and her mother were sent away to live in Yuhang, and now they’re being summoned back to the capital. With them in the carriage is Dongqing (a maid that Shiyi treats like a sister).

At the same time, Xu Lingyi (the ML) is laying a trap to catch two fugitives. 

Shiyi’s group goes into an inn, and Shiyi gets taken hostage by the two fugitives. Shiyi ends up falling in the river. Lingyi and a man in white ends up saving Shiyi. Lingyi gets hurt in the process but keeps mum about it. 

Shiyi wakes up and thanks the man in white, whose name is Lin Shixian. He seems taken with her at first sight. [2nd male lead, here we go.]

On the way back to the Luo manor, Shiyi drops by Xianling Pavilion to visit Master Jian, the one who taught Shiyi how to embroider. There’s a man, Wang Yu, causing trouble and Shiyi drives him away with her clever tongue.

Arriving at the Luo manor, Shiyi greets her father and Madame Luo along with her older sisters, Erniang and Wuniang.

[Honestly, these people are naming their daughters too lazily! They’re just called by numbers! Shiyi means “eleven.” She’s also addressed as Shiyiniang sometimes. Niang is just a suffix that means “young lady.” Her sisters Er and Wu are “two” and “five.” The previously mentioned Yuanniang, her Yuan just means “first.” It’s one thing to nickname your kids with numbers – rather common back in the day – but just naming them by numbers… Wow… Now I’m wondering what happened to all the other numbers in between, like three, four, six, seven, etc, and is Shiyi the youngest daughter.]

Recap by Vanilla Muse. Please read this on vmnovels (dot) com

Turns out the father, Old Master Luo, is having troubles with his work at court. His teacher – the one he depends on at court – has retired, so there’s no one to help him get reinstated. [Why did he lose his position in the first place? No idea. The show doesn’t say.] So now he’s trying to wed two of his daughters to powerful families: the Xu family and Wang family.

Yuanniang – the current main wife of the Xu family – is dying. So she and her mother, Madame Luo, are looking to have one of her younger sisters take her place as the main wife in order to look after her son, Xu Zhun. (They call him Zhun-ge in the show. Ge mean’s “brother.”) They want someone who is smart, but who they can also control. They’re deciding between Shiyi and Erniang. Madame Luo likes Erniang better, but Yuanniang ends up choosing Shiyi.

Wuniang’s marriage is already decided. She’s marrying a commoner, but he’s a nice person, so she’s happy with the match.

Erniang wants the marriage with the Xu family, because Wang Yu of the Wang family has a bad reputation and is known for being a womanizer. So when her marriage to the Wang family is set, she pretends to be Shiyi and goes out to seduce Wang Yu with her looks. She succeeds and he demands to change his marriage partner to Shiyi.

Shiyi doesn’t care, because she’s plotting to escape back to Yuhang with her mother and Dongqing. She manages to hitch a ride with Lin Shixian on his boat. They set up a date and time, and will be meeting in front of Ci’an Temple. 

In the Xu manor, drama is being stirred. Qiao Lianfang is a young girl that Madame Xu has watched growing up, so Madame Xu is incredibly fond of her. Madame Xu is secretly hoping that she will become Lingyi’s main wife after Yuanniang dies. Yuanniang won’t allow this, because this would put her son at a disadvantage, so she sets up a trap and gets Lianfang to come into the Xu family as a concubine instead. Lingyi doesn’t like her and neglects her, much to Madame Xu’s chagrin.

On the day that Shiyi is supposed to meet Lin Shixiang in front of Ci’an Temple, she is delayed because Madame Wang (Wang Yu’s mother) wants to meet her, since his son suddenly insisted on marrying her. When she finally gets to Ci’an Temple, she finds that her mother has been killed and the murderer is at large.

Recap by Vanilla Muse. Please read this on vmnovels (dot) com

Madame Luo takes this chance to try to break Shiyi’s spirit and make her an obedient puppet, but Master Jian visits and talks Shiyi out of her depressive spiral. Shiyi picks herself back up and decides to investigate her mother’s death herself. Old Master Luo and Madame Luo wanted to close the case a.s.a.p. because they’re afraid it would mess with his chances at court.

Shiyi finds out that the Xu family were at Ci’an Temple that day, so she decides to marry in and continue her investigation from the inside. She finds out what Erniang did, and counters by sending her self portrait to Wang Yu.

Wang Yu sees the portrait and storms into the Luo manor. He drags Erniang out and kisses her in front of everyone, thus sealing their marriage.

Yuanniang dies. Before she breathed her last, she made Shiyi promise to look after Xu Zhun, and told her to be careful of the Xu family because her illness was strange. One year later, Shiyi marries into the Xu family. Shiyi is nervous about the wedding night, but they end up not consummating the marriage, to her relief.

Recap by Vanilla Muse. Please read this on vmnovels (dot) com

We’re introduced to other members of the Xu family. There is Xiang Yizhen (widow to Lingyi’s older 2nd brother). There is Xu Lingkuan (Lingyi’s younger brother) and his wife Princess Danyang (who looks down on Shiyi for being the daughter of a concubine). Concubines Qin and Wen are looking to see which way the wind blows. Lianfang a.k.a. Concubine Qiao is instigated by the people around her (her servants and her mother), so she views Shiyi as her nemesis and the obstacle to her happiness with Lingyi.

Amber is a maid assigned by Madame Luo to Shiyi’s side to keep tabs on her, but Shiyi accepts her into the fold, and Amber is grateful for Shiyi’s trust.

Shiyi begins investigating by finding an excuse to look at everyone’s embroidery skills.

Madame Xu prompts Lingyi to spend more time with his concubines. He tries, and this ends up reiterating just how much he doesn’t connect with any of them.

Lianfang tries to instigate trouble with some brocade. She takes the share that is meant for the main wife and hires someone to make nice clothing out of it. Lingyi warns her not to be greedy for what is not hers and tells her never to wear that piece of clothing again. [Lmao, she had that coming.]

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The Sword and The Brocade – Characters

Xu Family & Peripheral

Xu Lingyi – ML, 4th son of the family

Luo Shiyi – FL, main wife to ML

Yuanniang – ML’s previous main wife, FL’s older half sister, deceased 

Xu Lingkuan – ML’s younger brother, 5th son of the family

Princess Danyang – Lingkuan’s wife

Concubine Qin – was a servant that Madame Xu made into ML’s concubine

Concubine Wen – ML’s concubine, merchant family

Concubine Tong – ML’s concubine, deceased, was Yuanniang’s maid, tried to seduce ML

Qiao Lianfang – ML’s concubine

Xiuyuan – Lianfang’s personal maid

Mrs. Zhang – Lianfang’s nanny

Madame Xu – ML’s mother

Xiang Yizhen – ML’s 2nd sister-in-law, widow wife to Xu Ling’an

Xu Ling’an – ML’s older brother, 2nd son of the family, deceased

Fengqing / Xu Sijie – Xu Lingkuan’s illegitimate son from before his marriage

Yuemei – Fengqing’s mother

Marquis Dingnan – Princess Danyang’s father

Fu Linbo – a general, ML’s subordinate

Zhao Ying – ML’s subordinate

Xu Zhun – Yuanniang’s son

Xu Yu – Concubine Wen’s son

Mrs. Liu – head maid in charge of the Xu villa, bribed by Lianfang to harm FL

Steward Bai – helpful to ML and the Xu family


Luo Family & Peripheral

Madame Lu – FL’s biological mother, a concubine

Madame Luo – FL’s non-biological mother, the main wife

Old Master Luo – FL’s biological father

Luo Zhenxing – FL’s older half brother, nice guy

Erniang – FL’s older half sister, bitchy 

Wang Yu – Erniang’s husband, womanizer, abusive

Wuniang – FL’s older half sister, nice

Amber – maid that Madame Luo assigned to keep tabs on FL

Dongqing – FL’s personal maid


Ou Family

Marquis Jingyuan

Ou Lixing – son

Lin Shixian / Ou Yanxing – illegitimate son



Master Jian – FL’s embroidery teacher, works at Xianling Pavilion

Posted in Recap

The Sword and The Brocade (2021)


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.

***Adapted from the novel “The Concubine-born Daughter’s Strategies” (庶女攻略) by Zhi Zhi (吱吱).

Native Title: 锦心似玉
Also Known As: 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: Historical, Mystery, Romance, Drama
Tags: Arranged Marriage, Smart Female Lead, Older Man/Younger Woman, Embroidery, Adapted From A Novel, Slow Burn Romance, Strong Female Lead, Kind-hearted Female Lead, Harem, Ming Dynasty

Character List

Episode Recaps

Episodes 1-10

Episode 11 | Episode 12 | Episode 13 | Episode 14 | Episode 15

Episode 16 | Episode 17 | Episode 18 | Episode 19 | Episode 20

Episode 21 | Episode 22 | Episode 23 | Episode 24 | Episode 25

Episode 26 | Episode 27 | Episode 28 | Episode 29 | Episode 30

Episode 31 | Episode 32 | Episode 33 | Episode 34 | Episode 35

Episode 36 | Episode 37 | Episode 38 | Episode 39 | Episode 40

Episode 41 | Episode 42 | Episode 43 | Episode 44 | Episode 45