Silk

Legacies of Ancient China

Introduction

China used silk for multiple things. Silk was considered a luxury fabric by all the people outside of China and the people who lived in China. The silk the Chinese made was important in opening trade routes to the west. Silk was very valuable because during the Han dynasty, the only people who knew how to make silk were the Chinese. Overland trade routes were called the Silk Roads because the people carried silk and other goods with them.

Silk, a luxury fabric

Silk is very long lasting and can be dyed in brilliant colors. Because of how rare it is, it became an excellent trading product. Trading silk got the Chinese people to get silver and gold from lands from the west of China. At one place in time one pound of silk would be equal to one pound of gold. "Getting silver and gold was very important to the Chinese because they did not have deposits of either material." (History Textbook p.280.)


For the Chinese this shows that silk was worth it weight in gold. without silk China wouldn't have been able to be successful traders. They would have lacking resources and riches.

The silk roads

The Silk Roads are overland trade routes where traders carried silk and other important goods along caravan trails. These trails stretched westward from China through Central Asia to Mesopotamia and Europe. Because the trails stretched through two continents, Europe and Asia, they were called Trans-Eurasian. Goods leaving China included silk, paper and pottery. Some goods coming into China would include sesame seeds and oil, metals, and precious stones. A trade item the Chinese especially valued was Central Asian horses. " As you can tell China was apart of a huge trading network."(History Textbook p. 277.)


It was important that China was apart of a huge trading network because they were the only ones who knew how to make silk. It is also important because they got many riches like gold and silver in exchange silk. They also needed the trading system to get horses which helped them in wars and transportation.

Clothing made of silk

The Chinese soon made clothes out of the silk which became very valuable. "Wearing silk was an important status symbol." At first, the only people who were allowed to wear silk were members of the royal family. Later the silk clothing was restricted to only the nobel class. Neither merchants or peasants were allowed to wear silk. Sometimes silk was even used as money.(www.ducksters.com Legend of silk.)


It was an important status symbol to wear silk in Ancient China. This was because it was a status symbol and showed people in the comunity who you where during a certain time. This means that if you were a ruler during the time when rulers only whore silk only you could wear silk. If you were in the nobel class during the time when only the people in the nobel class could wear silk, then only the people in the nobel class could wear silk.

Today

Silk was important to the people of Ancient China. China's main uses for silk were trading and clothing. Because of this, it affected China's culture by gaining riches, trading goods, and using silk as clothing. Silk was so important in Ancient China that it still plays an important role there today. Because of the Silk Roads and early trading, China continues to trade with many nations. China is the largest trading nation.