History of Silk

There are many legends around the birth of the production of silk.

The most famous in the Chinese tradition is told by Confucius in the 5th century.

In the 27th century before Jesus Christ, young Leizu (also known as Xi LingShi), the yellow Emperor Huangdi’s pretty wife, saw a cocoon fall into her teacup one day.

When she tried to retrieve it from the hot water, the cocoon unfolded in a long and smooth thread, shiny and as strong steel.

She came up with the idea to weave it and, entirely won over by the luxurious piece of fabric, told her husband who encouraged her to develop the breeding of the silkworm and the weaving of the thread. Thus started the silk industry.

Silk fabric dating respectively from 3630 and 2750 years B.C. were found. Recent searches uncovered instruments meant for sericulture (silk farming) dating from over 7000 years!

The secret was so jealously kept for more than 3000 years that whoever tried to reveal it was punished by death.

With the Silk Road, which carried this precious treasure to the Middle East then to Europe, the secret was eventually disclosed and the silk industry quickly developed all over the world. But China remains the largest producer thanks to its ideal climate that accommodates both the mulberry tree and the silkworm.

 

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