China is the earlyiest country to have produced silk. Legend has it that Lei Zu, wife of Emperor huangdi, invented sericulture, silk reeling and weaving. Chinese archaeologists believe the technology of silk weaving has at least a history of 4 000 years. Silk fabrics had been the main materials to make clothes for the noblemen and their families as well as an important commodity for export since long ago.
In China,The city of Suzhou is famous for its fine silk.In earlier times it was shipped to other parts of China,including the emperors in Beijing,along the Grand Canal.The Grand Canal was a 1800kilometres long man-made waterway
There were various kinds of ancient Chinese silk. As early as the Han Dynasty of 2 000 years ago, Zhang Qian, a famous diplomat of the time, opened up the “ Silk Road” leading to West Asia and Europe. It was along this road that silk was continuously transported to those countries. Westerners were very fond of Chinese silk. It is said that during the first century AD,a Roman emperor went to a theater wearing silk, which made a great stir in the audience. Since then,people wished to wear clothes made of Chinese silk. China, therefore,was called the “Silk country
Silkworms are not worms, they are caterpillars.
Silkworms eat the leaves of Mulberry bushes.
Silkworms shed their skins as they grow.
Silkworms spin a cocoon using just a single thread.
Silk is made from the silken thread of the cocoon.
On silk farms in the countryside around the city of Suzhou, in China, silkworms are kept on trays and fed leaves from mulberry bushes which are grown especially to feed them. Mulberry leaves are the only leaves the silkworms eat.
Silkworms are caterpillars, not worms. They eat and grow, and about every five days they moult. This means that their old skins split and fall off, revealing a larger, new skin underneath.
After about 45 days, the silkworm is ready to become a pupa. It stops eating and spins a cocoon made from a single thread of silk. Inside the cocoon, the silkworm changes and develops into a moth. The moths cut their way out of the cocoon. They mate and the females lay the eggs that will hatch into silkworms to continue the cycle of silk production