Chinese Silk

Last Update: 2007-12-28 13:53:00; By chinatravelservice

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Chinese silk
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China is the birthplace of silk. Sericulture (the raising and keeping of silkworms for silk production) has a long and colorful history unknown to most people. According to Chinese legend, Lady Hsi-Ling-Shih, wife of the mythical Yellow Emperor Huangdi, taught her people sericulture as early as 5000 years ago. In 138 B.C., Han Emperor Wudi sent ambassador Zhangyuan on a diplomatic mission to the west, from Changan to Istanbul. The route, covering 7000 kilometers, was later used for trading and became known as the Silk Road. Many merchants on camelbacks and caravans carrying various goods traveled on this route for many years.

For more than two thousand years the Chinese kept the secret of silk to themselves. It was the most zealously guarded secret in history. Eventually, however, with increased travels and trading, the secret of sericulture reached Korea just before the dawn of A.D., to Japan in the 4th century, to India in the 6th century and to Europe in the 7th century. In 522 A.D., the emperor of East Roman Empire asked two monks to spy on China and find out the secret of sericulture. Nowadays, although 35 countries around the world can produce silk, China still ranks first, accounting for 50 percent of the total output.

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