Sericulture (Silk Production) 丝绸生产

What is Silk?

Silk is a thin, but strong fiber that silkworms produce when they are making their cocoons. It can be woven into a very soft and smooth fabric. Silk fabric was invented in Ancient China and played an important role in their culture and economy for thousands of years.

Legend of Silk

Legend has it that the process for making silk cloth was first invented by the wife of the Yellow Emperor, Leizu, around the year 2696 BC. The idea for silk first came to Leizu while she was having tea in the imperial gardens. A cocoon fell into her tea and unraveled. She noticed that the cocoon was actually made from a long thread that was both strong and soft.

Summary

The Chinese managed to keep silk a secret for over 1000 years. However, in 550 AD the secret of silk became known to other countries when two monks from the Byzantine Empire managed to smuggle some silkworm eggs out of the country. They hid the eggs inside of their bamboo walking sticks. Silk most likely got to Europe by the Silk Trade.

By the 13th century, Italy had gained dominance and entered the hall of fame in silk history. Taking the credit for the Chinese invention. I think the invention of silk is important because it has brought many new inventions from it. It is very resourceful and is used in many ways.