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Friday, 29 November 2013

Silk

Compiled from Origins of Chinese Art and Craft
        China was the first country to discover silk cocoons. For more than 6,000 years, the Chinese have been breeding silk cocoons. Ancient Greeks knew China as Seres, which meant the Silk Country. When silk was introduced into the Western world, the Westerners fell in love with its beauty. They described it as being as beautiful as a fairy maiden and as mysterious as a dream.

Breeding Silkworms
        Cocoon is a type of grayish white fluid which is secreted by the silkworm. It is made out of silk protein and silk glue which hardens upon contact with air. Silk is malleable and elastic. A silkworm can secrete about 1,000 metres of silk thread.

Picking Mulberry Leaves
          As silkworms feed on mulberry leaves, mulberry trees were grown in abundance. The job of picking mulberry leaves was usually left to the womenfolk. Characters like mulberry, cocoon and silk were already found in the earliest Chinese writing: the shell-and-bone writing.


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