Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Brief History of Chinese Silk

     Though silk is now manufactured in many lands, silk manufacturing originated in China.  As one of the oldest fibers known, the history of illustrious silk is a tale of legend.

     An ancient & well known Chinese legend tells us that Empress Hsi Ling Shi, wife of the Yellow Emperor Huang Ti, accidentally discovered silk as a weaveable fiber, while sipping tea one day, of all things.

     Quite simply, the Empress was enjoying her tea, beneath a mulberry tree, when a silk worm cocoon fell from a branch, plopping into her which point it began to unravel shimmery threads!  Just imagine something as exciting as this happening to you!  Wow!

     Likewise, the Empress was so fascinated with what she was beholding, she investigated and discovered the source of the cocoon; This happened to be the Bombyx Mori Silkworm, often found in white mulberry trees.

     That was the beginning of the great adventure of silk!  The Empress soon developed sericulture (silk worm farming) and thereafter invented the reel and loom.

     Such a charming legend, which may or may not be what *actually* happened...I think I prefer to think it's EXACTLY how it happened.  I LOVE this legend!

     One thing is certain!  The earliest surviving examples and references to the discovery and use of silk, is placed as far back as 3,000 years ago, to it's birth in China.

     How did silk come to the western world?...ahhhh... 'tis another story for another day...until well...and happy stitching.

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