Silk Route

Silk Route

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Resham (Silk) is known to mankind since 27th century B.C., the discovery of silk is credited to a Chinese Queen Xi Ling Shi, at the age of 14 when she was already married to the Emperor Huang Ti, also known as “Yellow Emperor”. As stated by Confucius, the queen was once sitting under the Mulberry tree, sipping a warm cup of tea. One of the cocoons fell right into her cup, the young queen was familiar with the object because of remarkable growth of silkworms in the area, but she had never touched or examined it, as the tea was hot, the fibers of cocoon began to separate in the tea solution, hence a new fabric was discovered and became a token of wealth for Chinese empire.

Image ~ http://en.unesco.org

 

The Chinese traded silk in return for gold, silver and wool. Technique of obtaining silk was closely guarded in the Chinese kingdom for almost 30 centuries. The Great Silk Road, mentions of which can be found in 300 BC literature, was a result of Chinese silk trade with Roman Empire. All the pilgrims and travelers were checked at the Chinese borders, a tough punishment was declared if they were found in possession of silk cocoons, eggs or silkworms. The monopoly of China over silk came to an end when a Chinese princess married the King of Khotan, the princess brought silkworm eggs and mulberry tree seeds in her traditional headdress. Soon the knowledge of procuring silk penetrated to India and Persia.
However, the discussion of Silk fabrics in Vedic literature and the newly found silk pieces in the areas around Indus Valley Civilization prove the silk production was also done in the areas around Sind since significantly ancient times.
From the Hindu Empire to emergence of Buddhism and through the rise of Moguls, the silk weaving has attained several facets overtime; Silk fabrics are still a wish of every Indian woman who dreams of wearing a silk saree at least once in her lifetime.
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