Keep them from exposure to intense light or direct sunlight. The museum is well worth a visit. This is why the Rebirth of the Silk Way was born: to reorganise the entire silk production cycle, so that each of its phases, from the growing of mulberry trees to that of silkworms, is Italian. Once the worms start pupating in their cocoons, these are dissolved in boiling water in order for individual long fibres to be extracted and fed into the spinning reel. Silk is a delicately woven product made from the protein fibers of the silkworm cocoon. In the past, silk was used for various uses such as women's stockings and even artillery shells to hold the explosive. Still, it remained a mystery in the west, where artisans learned to dye it and weave it, but still didn't know how to make it. Ancient literature, however, attributes the popularization of silk to the Chinese Empress Si-Ling, to around 2600 B.C. Drying/ Stifling 2. 2009, 272 pp. China produces about 150,000 metric tons annually. I… Silk is strong, but it isn't elastic. If ironing is needed, turn the garment inside out and use a low setting. For most of the Middle Ages, silk production spread no further in Europe, until a few factories were set up in France in the 15th century. ADVERTISEMENTS: The following points highlight the nine main processes involved in production of silk. For best results, use a mild detergent and lukewarm water, rinse thoroughly, and roll in a towel to absorb the water. Raising of silkworms for production of silk is now an industry that is known as sericulture. Piles of cocoons are kept under the sun, boiled or exposed to steam. It became popular in Shanghai before WWII, and the elegant qipao is worn by some women for evening wear or party attire. Ancient Chinese people first brought the idea of developing silk in the light. Only India has a comparably large industry that produces about 30,000 metric tons. Thus, an industry was born. The silk clothes were initially used as wrappers for baby. In this chapter of Fibre to Fabric, we will learn which animal helps us obtain the beautiful Silk Threads that have various applications. They promised the emperor they could acquire silk for him without having to procure it from the Persians, with whom the Byzantines were at war. Silk was also used for a number of other applications including luxury writing material. Compare Prices, Burns, E. Jane, Sea of silk: a textile geography of women's work in medieval French literature. The Hangzhou National Silk Museum is the largest of its kind in the world. Chemical Processing of Raw Silk 8. The silk threads are woven into cloth or used for fine embroidery. At least until the 12th century, when two new materials spread widely across Europe, cotton and silk, both coming from the East. The origins of silk date back to Ancient China. Microbial silk production systems, E. coli and yeast, produce the highest yields, are scalable, and have been successfully commercialised. Silk production begins with the laying of silkworm eggs in a manmade environment and continues like this: A single Bombyx Mori female lays around 400 eggs every cycle (in one sitting! To avoi… Silk cloth manufacture was well advanced during the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) era. For this, it is need to be exposed to warmth. Silk production is a lengthy process that requires close monitoring. Extracting raw silk starts by cultivating the silkworms on mulberry leaves. Their cocoons resemble white, yellow, pink, and brown furry balls. It is a showcase for the origin, evolution and technique of silk production. The life cycle of silk worm encircle in the four stages. Cambridge University Press, 2003, 1191 pp. In 2005 China was considered to be the largest producer of silk in the world. While its beauty made it a highly-prized status symbol, silk has practical aspects that made it much sought-after (then and now): it's lightweight yet strong, resists soil, has excellent dyeing properties and is cool and comfortable in warmer weather. Compare prices, Piponnier, Francoise, and Perrine Mane, Dress in the Middle Ages. Silk Fibre Production and Application - Silk fiber is a filament spun by the caterpillars of various butter flies. For storage, put items in cloth bags such as cotton pillowcases or surround them with breathable fabrics. The Italian silk remained prized for furnishings and fabric used for wall coverings, whereas French silk became prominent in the clothing industry. The larvae feed on mulberry leaves. Silk is mainly produced in the south of the Yangtze River Delta. It is a unique Chinese one-piece dress that features a high neck, close fit, and straight skirt with a high slit on one or both sides. Anyone found smuggling silkworm eggs, cocoons, or mulberry seeds was put to death. Mulberry Silk is the most common among them contributing to nearly 95% of world’s silk production. They set up silk factories, which were known as "gynaecea" because the workers were all women. Cities such as Suzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Shaoxing are well known for their silk industries. Having grown and moulted several times, the silkworm pushes out silk fibers to make a net to hold itself. Deflossing/Brushing 6. Some of the luxurious fabric they produced would find its way along the Silk Road to Europe, where only the wealthiest could afford it. If you want a unique Chinese souvenir or a gift for yourself or for your female friend or relative, a qipao might be a choice. After the eggs hatch, the caterpillars are fed a diet of mulberry leaves in a controlled environment. The processing of silk from cocoons follows - Step1: Separation of the silk fibre from the cocoon. ", ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Silk has set the standard in luxury fabrics for several millennia. Drying/ Stifling: Drying or stifling is the kil­ling of pupa […] Sericulture, the production of raw silk by means of raising caterpillars (larvae), particularly those of the domesticated silkworm (Bombyx mori). Cooking 5. The female silkworm lays 300-400 eggs and insulates them on the leaves of the mulberry tree. Silk was the most luxurious fabric available to medieval Europeans, and it was so costly that only the upper classes—and the Church—could attain it. For millennia, the secret of how silk was made was jealously guarded by the Chinese. Re-Reeling 9. The processes are: 1. The silkworms born from these eggs were the progenitors of all the silkworms used to produce silk in the west for the next 1,300 years. Called the Goddess of the Silkworm, Si-Ling apparently r… . Storage 3. Silk production is a lengthy process that requires close monitoring. Sometimes it is used for surgical thread. Thanks to Justinian's wily monk friends, Byzantines were the first to establish a silk production industry in the medieval west, and they maintained a monopoly on it for several hundred years. By the second century C.E., silk was being produced in India, and a few centuries later, in Japan. Yet the silk produced in Italy was considered too pricy and too heavy for the needs of the French fashion back then. Avoid storing them in plastic since this might trap moisture and cause yellowing or mildew. Silk moths lay around 500 eggs during their lifespan of four to six days. Silk fabric is a poor choice for curtains and draperies. It refracts incoming light at different angles and so produces different colors. Silk is … Like the gynaecea, they employed mainly women who were bound to the workshops. I and II. Delicate silks should be dry-cleaned. Sorting 4. Compare prices, Melissa Snell is a historical researcher and writer specializing in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Textile Production in Europe: Silk, 1600–1800 Verdures du Vatican (set of two) Jean Démosthène Dugourc After the eggs hatch, the caterpillars are fed a diet of mulberry leaves in a controlled environment. China Highlights' tours to these cities could include stops to shop for silk and other souvenirs. Moths can attack silks. The raw silkmay now be used as is. After storing up enough energy, the silk caterpillars (silkworms) surround themselves with fibers of a white jelly-like substance. This process is divided into several stages but typically starts from cultivating silkworm on mulberry leaves. Silk was an important part of China's economy; entire villages would engage in the production of silk, or sericulture, and they could live off the profits of their labors for much of the year. Silk garments were worn by emperors and royalty, and it was a status symbol. Legend has it that a Chinese princess was sipping tea in her garden when a cocoon fell into her cup, and the hot tea loosened the long strand of silk. It has a section devoted to the Silk Road and its importance in commerce. Fabrics were created using looms, and treadle-operated versions appear in, for example, the murals in tombs of the Han dyna…