Did a silk worm fall into a cup of tea more than 7,400 years ago: Part 1 of 2

I’ve often read about the Silk Road, but I was curious and wanted to know more about the history of silk.

Inside a Chinese silk factory

Silk has a long history in China. In 1984, silk fabric dating back more than five-thousand years was found in Henan Province.

Making cloth from a silkworm

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.

And that is allegedly how China’s silk industry was born.

How silk is made

Then I learned that merchants from the Roman Empire sent ships by sea to China and traded directly with the Han Dynasty for silk. We’ll discover more about this in Part 2.

Continued in Part 2 on January 4, 2018

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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