Silk Road Travel Atlas PDF

Follow the link for more information. Silk remained confined to China until the Silk Road opened at some point during the later half of the 1st millennium BC. Silk cultivation spread to Japan around 300 AD, and, by 522 AD, silk Road Travel Atlas PDF Byzantines managed to obtain silkworm eggs and were able to begin silkworm cultivation. The Arabs also began to manufacture silk at the same time.


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The Industrial Revolution changed much of Europe’s silk industry. Due to innovations on spinning cotton, cotton became much cheaper to manufacture and therefore caused more expensive silk production to become less mainstream. New weaving technologies, however, increased the efficiency of production. The earliest evidence of silk was found at the sites of Yangshao culture in Xia County, Shanxi, where a silk cocoon was found cut in half by a sharp knife, dating back to between 4000 and 3000 BC. The species was identified as Bombyx mori, the domesticated silkworm. During the later epoch, the Chinese lost their secret to the Koreans, the Japanese, and, later, the Indians, as these cultures discovered how to make silk. Allusions to the fabric in the Old Testament show that it was known in western Asia in biblical times.

The writings of Confucius and Chinese tradition recount that, in about 3000 BC, a silk worm’s cocoon fell into the tea cup of the empress Leizu. She then had the idea to weave some of it, so she kept some for herself. Having observed the life of the silk worm on the recommendation of her husband, the Yellow Emperor, she began to instruct her entourage in the art of raising silk worms, sericulture. Though silk was exported to foreign countries in great amounts, sericulture remained a secret that the Chinese carefully guarded. Consequently, other peoples invented wildly varying accounts of the source of the incredible fabric. In classical antiquity, most Romans, great admirers of the cloth, were convinced that the Chinese took the fabric from tree leaves.

Woven silk textile from Tomb No. In China, silk-worm farming was originally restricted to women, and many women were employed in the silk-making industry. Even though some saw the development of a luxury product as useless, silk provoked such a craze among high society that the rules in the Li Ji were used to limit its use to the members of the imperial family. Paper was one of the greatest discoveries of ancient China. Beginning in the 3rd century BC paper was made in all sizes with various materials. Silk was no exception, and silk workers had been making paper since the 2nd century BC.

During the Han Dynasty, silk became progressively more valuable in its own right, and became more than simply a material. It was used to pay government officials and compensate citizens who were particularly worthy. The two other known works on silk from the Han period are lost. The military payrolls tell us that soldiers were paid in bundles of plain silk textiles, which circulated as currency in Han times.