THE ORIGIN OF SILK

The text was taken from the book by Kassia St Clair, The Golden Thread - How fabric changed history. We highly reccommend this book as its a beautifully written and full of interesting information.


It is said that silk production began with that most Chinese of things: a cup of tea. This particular cup was grasped by Xiling, the young wife of the Yellow Emperor, who was sitting under a mullberry tree in the gardens of the palace. With a soft ‘plink’ and a little splash of hot liquid, a cocoon fell from one of the branches above the empress directly into the cup. Naturally enough, Xiling’s first instict was to fish the offending object out, but she found to her amazement that the tea had dissolved the cocoon. Instead of a solid cream-coloured lump, what emerged was hank upon unbroken hank of silk thread, so much that the Empress Xiling was able to spread it over the gardens so that it looked like shimmering mist.This Chinese legend is only one of many woven around the production of silk. Beautiful, isn’t it?


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