Silk – The Luxurious Chinese Textile
Silk Textiles are some of the most well-known and oldest fabrics in existence. Silk is a natural protein derived from the cocoons of silk worms. From certain domesticated species, the cocoon can be treated and woven into silk textiles. The common properties of silk textiles are:
- Versatile & Comfortable
- Moisture Absorbing
- Wearable in any season (Cool in the Summer/ Warm in the Winter)
- Flexible and Smooth
While the exact date of development of silk textiles is unknown, Historians approximate the discovery and creation of the fabric back to Ancient China. Chinese legend has it that the Empress Lei-Tzu discovered an unraveling silkworm cocoon after it fell to her lap from a mulberry tree in her garden and, through obsession, developed the cocoon into an elegant fabric. While the tale is debated, Archaeologist recently uncovered a tomb with elaborate silk weavings dating back to 2500 BCE, possibly strengthening this tales claim to validity.
Though originally intended for Chinese Royalty, use of silk has spread quickly throughout Asia. Through trade, most famously via the Silk Road, silk quickly became easily accessible and a sign of luxury status. In fact, China still remains the largest producer and trader of silk in the world to this day. Silk can be found in many garments and accessories today such as dresses, ties, shirts, trousers, housewares such as high end bed sets, as well as various medical applications such as surgery sutures.