I was reading an Associated Press piece by Mansur Mirovalev on Silk’s dark side about Uzbek children made to grow cocoons. If you are interested in that story, click the link.
Silkworms in a Chinese silk factory
However, that’s not what this post is about. I will say this. I didn’t see much that was dark about what was taking place in Uzbekistan. About a century ago, American children once worked in the fields alongside their parents. I see nothing wrong with that. The Uzbek families not being paid is another matter.
Worker makes silk cloth from a silkworm.
I’ve often read about the Silk Road, but I was curious and wanted to know more about the history of silk so I did some virtual hunting.
Silk has a long history in China. In 1984, silk fabric dating back more than 5000 years was found in Henan Province.
How silk is made.
According to legend, Lei Zu, the queen of China’s legendary Yellow Emperor, was drinking a cup of tea beneath a mulberry tree one day when a silkworm cocoon fell into her cup. Further investigation revealed that the unraveling fibers were light and tough, ripe for spinning. Thus China’s silk industry was born. Source: The History of Silk
What I didn’t know was that merchants from the Roman Empire sent ships by sea to China and traded directly with the Han Dynasty, which I’ll write about in Silk – Part 2.
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