The Textiles Properties Of Silk
The Legend Goes That Goddess of Silk to Lady Hsi-Ling-Shih, wife of the mythical Yellow Emperor, who was said to have been king of China in about 3000 BC. She is credited with the introduction of silkworm rearing and the creation of the loom. Half a silkworm cocoon unearthed in 1927 from the low soil astride in the Yellow River in Shanxi Province, in northern China, and has been dated between 2600 and 2300 BC.
silk production has a long and amazing history unknown to most people. For centuries. Westerns knew very little about silk and the people who created it. Pliny, the Roman historian, wrote in his Natural History Book in 70 BC "Silk was obtained by removing the down from the leaves with the help of water…". Which Was Wrong. For more than two thousand years the Chinese kept the secret of silk to themselves. It was the most Highly guarded secret in history.
Silky Kept Secrets
When silk was first discovered, it was reserved exclusively for the use of the ruler. It was permitted only to the emperor, his close relations and the very highest of his dignitaries. Within the palace, the emperor is believed to have worn a robe of white silk; outside, he, his principal wife, and the heir to the throne wore yellow, the color of the earth. Gradually the various classes of society began wearing tunics of silk, and silk came into more general use. As well as being used for clothing and decoration, silk was quite quickly put to industrial use by the Chinese. This was something which happened in the West only in modern times. Silk, indeed, rapidly became one of the principal elements of the Chinese economy. Silk was used for musical instruments, fishing-lines, bowstrings, bonds of all kinds, and even rag paper, the word's first luxury paper. Eventually even the common people were able to wear garments of silk. During the Han Dynasty, silk ceased to be a mere industrial material and became an absolute value in itself. Farmers paid their taxes in grain and silk. Silk began to be used for paying civil servants and rewarding subjects for outstanding services. Values were calculated in lengths of silk as they had been calculated in pounds of gold. Before long it was to become a currency used in trade with foreign countries. This use of silk continued during the Tang as well. It is possible that this added importance was the result of a major increase in production. It found its way so thoroughly into the Chinese language that 230 of the 5,000 most common characters of the mandarin "alphabet" have silk as their "key".
Producing silk is a lengthy process and demands constant highly close attention. To create high quality silk, there are two conditions which need to be completed– preventing the moth from hatching out and perfecting the diet on which the silkworms should eat. The Chinese people developed secret ways for both. The eggs must be kept at 65 degrees F, Riseing gradually to 77 degrees at which point they hatch. After the eggs hatch, the baby worms feed day and night every half hour on fresh, hand-picked and chopped mulberry leaves until they are very fat and fluffy. Also a fixed temperature has to be maintained throughout. Thousands of feeding silk worms are kept on trays that are stacked one on top of another. A roomful of munching worms sounds like heavy rain falling on the roof or a 10 dollar country kitchen buffet. The newly hatched silkworm multiplies its weight 10,000 times within a month, changing color and shedding its whitish-gray skin several times
A Silky Process
Silk Textiles Into Mainstream Culture
Before the Industrial Revolution, the making of a patterned silk textile was extremely tedious and required a skilled weaver and a considerable investment in equipment and the finest raw materials. The warp was threaded on the loom according to the design of the textile, after that two people were required to weave the textile—a weaver who inserted the wefts on the silk and a “drawboy” who controlled the pattern mechanism. As a result, patterned silks and velvets, especially those embellished Fabulous precious metal threads, were produced in relatively few major centers in Europe where raw materials, specialized looms, and skilled artisans could be gathered together efficiently.
in the very begining between 1600 and 1800 Patterned silk velvet was the most expensive and prestigious of all woven textiles, but other patterned silks, such as damasks and brocades, were costly as well. The city-states of the Italian peninsula produced the majority of European luxury silks during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and continued to dominate the production of luxury textiles well into the seventeenth century. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Venice and Florence were renowned for their sumptuous Renaissance velvets incorporating gold and silver threads with large floral patterns after the pomegranate motif. During the seventeenth century, Genoa began producing polychrome floral velvets with large-scale patterns primarily intended for wall covering and furniture. This so-called Genoa or jardinière velvet remained the preferred choice for formal interiors through the eighteenth century, even as fashions in dress began to call for lighter fabrics
Technical innovations to the loom occurred throughout the eighteenth century as weavers tried to speed up the process of loom preparation and weaving. Philippe de Lasalle (1723–1804), a designer, weaver, and entrepreneur working in Lyon, invented a removable version of a device called a semple. The semple was a key part of the mechanism that controlled the pattern woven on an individual loom. Lasalle’s device could be transferred from one loom to another, without having to program the pattern a second time. The removable semple also facilitated the weaving of the larger designs intended as wall coverings, for which Lasalle was known . He was honored by the French government for this invention in 1774, and it was one of many improvements that paved the way for the development of the so-called Jacquard loom in 1801. This loom, which came into general use in the early nineteenth century, could be programmed to weave even more complex patterned textiles without the aid of a second worker.
A SILKY NEW PROCESS
World silk production has approximately doubled during the last 30 years in spite of man-made fibers replacing silk for some uses. China and Japan during this period have been the two main producers, together manufacturing more than 50% of the world production each year. During the late 1970's China, the country that first developed sericulture thousands years ago dramatically increased its silk production and has again become the world's leading producer of silk.
SILKY LIFE TODAY