Silk

Silk. Fiber of which the cocoon that covers the silkworm is composed, valuable for its use in high-quality fabrics and other textile products. Scientifically, the Silkworm is a species of Caterpillar and not a Worm as such. Although many insects are wrapped in fiber cocoons. Only those of the Moráceas Silk Butterfly , Bombyx mori, and those of a few other nearby species are used in the silk industry.

Summary

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  • 1 History
    • 1 Myths about its origin
    • 2 Inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
  • 2 See also
  • 3 References
  • 4 Source

History

According to Chinese tradition, the history of silk begins in the XXVII century BC It continues through three millennia of exclusivity during which China exports this precious fabric without ever revealing the secret of its manufacture.

The art of making silk was later transmitted to other civilizations thanks to merchants, thieves and spies of all kinds (monks, princesses …). In the Middle Ages in China , silk became an object of desire on the part of high society, to the point that Liji regulated its use in relation to imperial protocol. Peasants were not entitled to wear silk until several centuries later, with the Qing dynasty ( 1644 – 1911 ).

The use of silk remains exclusive to the imperial family and the highest dignitaries for nearly a thousand years. Then its use gradually spread to other classes of Chinese society. In addition to being carried, the fabric was often used for decorative purposes. It is also used from an early age for economic purposes: in some musical instruments, in Lapesa and even in bows.

Once it reaches Western Europe in the late Middle Ages , silk production reaches the phase of industrialization from the 19th century . It will then undergo a major decline, related to the rapid development of the manufacture of this fabric in certain countries in Asia and the epidemics that affected silkworms in France .

Myths about its origin

Silk has remained a mystery for so long that the numerous civilizations that discovered it, especially thanks to the silk routes that cross Eurasia, invented numerous legends about it. For example, Persian legends report the appearance of the first pair of silkworms, emerging from Job’s body.

On the other hand, the writings of Confucius and the Chinese tradition tell that in the 17th century BC. C . a silkworm cocoon fell into Empress Leizu’s teacup . Trying to get it out of her cup, the fourteen-year-old began to wind the thread from the cocoon. Then he had the idea to knit it. After observing the life of the Silkworm at the request of her husband, the Yellow Emperor Huang Di , she began to teach her court how to raise them, sericulture. From that moment, the young woman remained in Chinese mythology as the goddess of silk.

On the origin of the silkworm, another Chinese legend tells that:

“a girl had promised to marry whoever brought her father back, who was at war, upon hearing this promise the family horse went in search of the father and from then on the animal looked at the girl with intentions that she fulfilled her offer, before so much “daring” the horse was killed and skinned. One day, the girl, seeing the horse’s skin in the sun, began to trample her saying: “And you still wanted to marry me ! “Then suddenly the skin enveloped the girl and they disappeared together. Some time later they appeared on a tree, where they formed a pair of silkworms. Always following the legends, the silk left China in the direction of India in the hair of a princess promised to a prince of Cotan. This princess, refusing to keep her beloved cloth, defied the imperial ban on exporting silkworms. [one]

Despite the fact that silk was soon exported to foreign countries, sericulture was always a carefully kept secret by the Chinese. The other towns had to invent various origins for this wonderful fabric. Thus, the Romans , great admirers of weaving, were convinced that the Chinese obtained the thread from the leaves of the trees.

The knowledge that in the Roman Empire they had of Chinese silk, highlighted above all the imaginary, the secrecy and the exotic. At first, the Romans imagined that silk was the product of a kind of wool tree and that these “beings (of Sericum) who drank water” lived until 200 or 300 years. That is, for example, what Pliny the Elder affirmed in his Natural History or Virgil in the Georgic .

Inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (PCI) inscribed Chinese silk sericulture and handicrafts on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity , given that the application fulfilled all the required criteria, namely :

ICP definition: Long ago, Chinese silk sericulture and crafts have conferred a sense of identity and continuity on communities in many regions of the country.

Contribution to the notoriety of the PCI: Its inscription on the Representative List may contribute not only to the increase in the notoriety of the intangible cultural heritage and of one of the oldest Chinese handicrafts at the national and international level, but also to the promotion of creativity, by highlighting its aesthetic significance.

Safeguard measures: A coherent and detailed set of safeguard measures has been defined, paying special attention to the creation of educational programs for children.

Community participation: Community participation is convincingly detailed and your consent is evidenced in detailed letters.

Inventory: The item is inscribed on the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage administered by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture.

Sericulture and silk crafts practiced in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces , near Shanghai , and in Sichuan province , ChengduThey have a long history. Silk-making, a task traditionally assumed by women in the rural economy, involves growing mulberry trees, raising silkworms, winding and spinning silk, designing fabrics and making them. Sericulture techniques, passed down from parents to children and from teachers to apprentices, have also often spread within local groups. The life cycle of the silkworm was considered a representation of human life, death and rebirth. In the ponds scattered throughout the villages, the silkworm droppings are used to feed the fish, while the silt is used as fertilizer for the mulberry trees and the mulberry leaves are used to feed the worms. As the beginning of the lunar year approaches, worm breeders invite artisans to their homes to relive the legend of the Goddess of Silkworms, conjure up evils, and command a plethora of silk cocoons. Every year, in April, during the “Silkworm Flower Festival”, the sericulturists adorn themselves with multicolored silk and paper flowers and make offerings to bring about a good harvest. Silk is also present in a more material way in the life of the rural populations of China, since in their daily life they use articles made with it: dresses, quilts, umbrellas, fans and flowers. During the “Silkworm Flower” Festival, the mills adorn themselves with multi-colored silk and paper flowers and make offerings to deliver a good harvest. Silk is also present in a more material way in the life of the rural populations of China, since in their daily life they use articles made with it: dresses, quilts, umbrellas, fans and flowers. During the “Silkworm Flower” Festival, the mills adorn themselves with multi-colored silk and paper flowers and make offerings to deliver a good harvest. Silk is also present in a more material way in the life of the rural populations of China, since in their daily life they use articles made with it: dresses, quilts, umbrellas, fans and flowers.

 

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