History of Silk

History of Silk

The history of silk is ancient, fascinating and thrilling. Silk is associated with nursing animal product and referred to as “The queen of fibres”. Rather than being mature within the type of hair, it’s created by insects as a handy material with that to make their webs, cocoon and ascent ropes. Nearly entire industrial silk relies on one insect – the silk worm, a caterpillar. (Binomial name: Bombyx mori)

Silk, the foremost elegant fibre, was initial discovered in China by Emperor Si-Ling-Chi. One day the Emperor was enjoying a cup of tea below a mulberry in the palace garden. Suddenly a silk worm cocoon fell down into her tea cup and she discovered that the warmth of the liquid allowed the cocoon to unravel an unbroken filament of fibre.

According to Chinese legends, silk culture dates back to the year 2640 BC, once the Emperor learned the way to rear the caterpillars and unwind the cocoons that they created. So through the complete encouragement of the Emperor, silk business became established in China. China command monopoly within the silk business for three thousand years. Then sericulture unfold to Japan via Korea and bit by bit silk production unfold westward over Asia.


Silk is that the product of the domesticated silkworm, Bombyx mori. The caterpillars are fed mulberry leaves 5 times daily. After 45 days of munching and growing the worms area unit able to be mature. They have a special spinneret that secrets one long continuous filament. That’s the silk.

Silkworm Chrysalis with Cocoon; Photo from Pinterest.

Silkworm Chrysalis with Cocoon; Photo from Pinterest.

When the silkworms spin this filament into a cocoon, the caterpillar starts its transformation. By steaming, it cleans them and kills the insect inside. If the pupas were unbroken alive, they’d degrade and break the silk. Then the cocoons area unit warp to reveal around a mile of usable filament. Filaments area unit joined to make a thread thick enough to weave into the material.


A variety of silk fiber is found considering bound factors associated with its quality and methodology of production. Some well-known varieties square measure made public below-

1. Raw silk: 

Silk fiber because it comes from the cocoon is coated with a protecting layer referred to as silk gum, ar sericin. The silk Eum is uninteresting and stiff, Silk with all of its gum is termed raw silk.

2. Tussah Silk:
Tussah Silk Fabric; Photo from Pinterest.

Tussah Silk Fabric; Photo from Pinterest.

Silk made of wild silkworms is known as Tussah silk. The natural color of this silk is typically not white, but shades of pale beige, brown and gray. It’s sometimes coarser than cultivated silk.

3. Bombyx mori Silk:

it is conjointly referred to as mulberry silk that is made by domesticated silkworm raised on a diet of mulberry leaves nearly solely softer, finer and additional lustrous than Tussah Silk. This silk produces reminder white product.

4. Reeled silk or Thrown silk:

It is a term for silk fiber that’s uncoiled from the silkworm Cocoon. it’s the foremost fine silk, the fibers square measure terribly long, shiny and of nice strength

5. Spun silk:

Silk made of broken cocoon (from that the moths have already emerged) and short fibers, feels more like cotton.

6. Weighted silk:

When yarns square measure ready for weaving, the skeins of yarn square measure stewed in an exceeding soap resolution to get rid of the natural silk gum or sericin. The silk might lose from 20-30% of its original weight as a result of boiling. As silk incorporates a nice affinity for gold salts like those of tin.

7. Pure silk:
Pure Silk Fabric; Courtesy: Photo from Pinterest

Pure Silk Fabric; Courtesy: Photo from Pinterest

If the natural gum or sericin is faraway from the silk and no more material is other to extend the weight of the fiber, l.e. silk containing no gold weight is termed pure silk. Pure silk is solely soft and possesses fine luster.


Silk is one in all the foremost pricy materials within the world rather like linen. It’s typically chosen for a spread of garments and accessories in new collections.

Silk was an expensive material back then in past too.It is extremely pricy as a result of its restricted accessibility and expensive production. It takes quite 5,000 silkworms to provide only one kilogram of silk. The farming, killing, and gather of thousands of silkworm cocoons are resource-heavy, effortful, and expensive processes. Only 168,300 loads of raw silk are made globally every year. China is that the largest producer of silk with 126,000 tons made in 2014, followed by India (23,700 tons), and Vietnam (6,800 tons).


Silk Fabric; Courtesy: Photo from Pinterest

Silk Fabric; Courtesy: Photo from Pinterest

To quote Oscar de la Renta,

“Silk does for the body what diamonds do for the hand.”

Silk is such as fabric that is fond of by all kinds of people of all kinds of ages, specially by women. It gives someone a Royal and charm looking. It’s just a perfect wardrobe for making an evening special! In spite of its delicate look, silk is comparatively strong. Its swish surface resists soil and odors well. Silk is wrinkle and tear resistant, and dries swiftly. Owing to its macromolecule structure, silk is that the most hypoallergenic of all materials.


Small rabbit sitting on comfy Silk fabric; Courtesy: Photo by Sunsetoned from Pexel.

Small rabbit sitting on comfy Silk fabric; Courtesy: Photo by Sunsetoned from Pexel.

The Chinese realised the worth of the attractive material they were manufacturing and unbroken its secret safe from the remainder of the planet for quite 30 centuries. Travelers were searched thoroughly at border crossings and anyone caught making an attempt to export eggs, cocoons or silkworms out of the country were end up dead. Thus, below the penalty of death, the mystery of sericulture remained a well-kept secret for pretty much three thousand years.


Silk Road of China; Courtesy: Photo from Pinterest

Silk Road of China; Courtesy: Photo from Pinterest

Though first reserved for Chinese royalty, silk unfolds bit by bit through the Chinese culture. From then, silken clothes began to achieve regions throughout Asia. Silk speedily became a preferred luxury material within the several areas accessible to Chinese merchants, due to its texture and luster. Demand for this exotic material eventually created the profitable trade route currently referred to as the trade route, taking silk westward and delivery gold, silver and wool to the eastward. The Silk Road is so named because it was the trading route from China to Rome, wherever silk material was one amongst the key trade things.
Sometimes silk was considered more precious than gold! So Clearly, Silk Road played a crucial role in its global trade and introduction to the world outside of China.


Among the silk-producing areas, Japan has always ranked highest in production of fine silks. Satisfactory types are made in-Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, France, Greece, Iran, Thailand, Turkey, Spain and Syria.


Satin Silk; Courtesy: Photo from pinterest. Fashionnovation

Satin Silk; Courtesy: Photo from pinterest

Chiffon, Chinnon, Crepe, Dupion, Duchess, Organza, Taffeta, Georgette, Satin, Matka, Brocade etc.


A modern hijabi girl with beautiful silk gawn; Courtesy: Photo from Pinterest

A modern hijabi girl with beautiful silk gawn; Courtesy: Photo from Pinterest

Examples of shopper attire things made of silk embody scarfs, shirts, blouses, sleep mask and evening clothes. Thanks to its light-weight and soft attributes, silk is additionally a favourite material for nightclothes and undergarment for men. Within the home, silk may well be wont to create ornamental pillows, curtains, or wall hangings.


Simply bit your silk and acquire an honest sorrow the smoothness of it. Real silk is totally swish to the bit, with a soft and virtually waxy feeling. Further thereto, if you scrunch it up a touch in your hand, you ought to hear a crunching noise – that sound should tell you that it’s the important deal.

For further peace of mind, rub the silk between your fingers for a touch whereas. Real silk heats up and becomes deal the bit – if it doesn’t amendment in temperature, it’s a pretend.


Bangladesh eventually transmitted the art of sericulture due to its proximity to India and China as It’s a pride similar to Muslin and Jamdani. Italians particularly favoured this sort of silk throughout the 13th Century and referred to as it the ‘Ganges Silk’.
By the 1930s, Chinese and Japanese silk started replacing Bengal silk even in Bengal itself because of the epidemic of silkworm diseases and technological stagnation. In the early 20th century, Bengal silk was removed from South Asian markets, especially by Kashmir and Mysore silk.

A Bengali Woman in Silk Shari; Courtesy: Photo from Pinterest.

A Bengali Woman in Silk Shari; Courtesy: Photo from Pinterest.

But then 1971, the govt. developed an additional systematic policy towards silk. In 1977, the Bangladesh sericulture board was created to coordinate activities within the silk sector. Now as a gift situation sericulture in Bangladesh is ruled by Bangladesh Silk Board (BSB), Asian nation Silk Foundation (BSF) and a few NGO’s, chiefly BRAC.

Though Bangladesh features a structure to guide the sericulture comes however it’s not been ready to work as expeditiously because it was required. As a result the mulberry plantation has bated to throughout the last decade. BSB is currently operating about extension and production programs and that they have gotten government support to accomplish their programs. However there’s lack of hardship and potency to implement the programs.


1. Mulberry Silk.
2. Eri (Endi Silk).
3. Tassar Silk.


Arrangement of Glass Pitcher on Silk garment; Courtesy: Photo by Sunsetoned from Pexels.

Arrangement of Glass Pitcher on Silk garment; Courtesy: Photo by Sunsetoned from Pexels.

The terrible notion of silk produces an expensive and comfy image in most people’s minds. this can be owing to the fiber’s fantastic properties.
– The natural supermolecule structure makes it a naturally hypoallergenic textile.
– Silk has temperature control properties that makes it ideal for clothes in interchangeable climates. It is a breathable material that’s strong and resists odors. It is straightforward to figure with and might be plain-woven, knit or spun just.
– Silk simply absorbs dyes and may be a fantastic fashion and interiors alternative for its skillfulness and drape.
– Silks is bleached with low-impact and natural dyes.
– It is perishable and might be recycled.
– Handloom silks area unit made exploitation abundant less energy.

Silk has attracted people for millennia with its unique qualities of lightness and strength, durability, luster and brilliance. A silk strand has a greater tensile strength than steel, yet no other material drapes more luxuriously or flatters the body more. So, it makes our responsibility to be more productive in this field.


Mentor : A.S.M. Shahidullah (TFD 44; ID: 2018-1-6-013)

Leader : Jeba Samia (TFD 45; ID- 2019-1-6-035)

Executive : Rabeya Begum Mishu (TFD 46; ID-2020-1-6-34)



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Medieval Period (Part 1)-Sociopolitical System & women’s clothing

Medieval period is one of the most interesting periods for historians. Many political changes & reforms came during this period. All these reforms had an absolute impact on people’s lifestyle, dress & fashion. Which still inspire our modern fashion designers. In this series we will talk about all these things regarding medieval culture, society & political impact along with medieval clothing. Our part 1 consists Medieval Period’s short history, Social system, Sumptuary law & Women’s clothing.

History of Medieval Period:                                                

Approximately 5th century to late 15th century is regarded as Middle Ages or Medieval period by historians. However, it actually began with the fall of western roman empire & ended before renaissance. When western roman empire falls catholic churches turned into most powerful institution. The formation & rise of Byzantine empire (395-1453) started during this time. A new revolution started with the birth of Islamic Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which created empires like Umayyad Caliphate (661-750), Abbasid Caliphate (750-1517), Fatimid Caliphate (909-1171), Ayyubid Caliphate (1171-1260), Caliphate of Cordova (929-1031) etc. Meanwhile in Europe the Franks established Carolingian Empire (800-888). Besides there were impact of Vikings, Magyars, Saracens etc in Europe. After 10th century, High middle age began where the population along with agricultural development increased which caused social systems like Manorialism and Feudalism. The clash between the empires, civil wars were common in political environment. Western European Christians tried to regain their holy land from Muslims which created holy war or Crusade. All these things created four-category people such as King, Religious preacher, Soldier or Knights and the common people. Apart from these things based on different social customs there was lot of category and dividing within people of Medieval period.

Social Systems of Medieval Period:

Medieval period saw social system like Manorialism. Manorialism was seen in rural area where legal and economic power was given to a lord of the manor. Which further updated and turned into feudalism. In feudal society the core power was within three (the nobility, the clergy, the peasantry). Feudal system is mainly a combination of legal & military customs. There were king at the highest order then Knights, Clergy & tradesman. Peasant were the bottom character in this pyramid system. In Islamic world everyone lived under caliph. There was soldier, tradesman, scientists, poets, philosophers from cities like Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo etc.

Sumptuary Law of Medieval Period:

Sumptuary law was widely applied in Europe during medieval period. The law was basically used to regulate consumption and protect the feudalism ideology through daily commodities like dress, food and luxury expenditure. Sumptuary law made it easier to make discrimination between the people according to their class. People from various class was permitted to wear or use different rank dress due to this law. Prosperous Bourgeoisie was identified based on their dress. So, the moral of the story is only the wealthy could dress in fashionable way and had more option to dress than the other. It was commonly said by the Medieval philosophers about fashion that “The King himself was a leader of fashion, the nobles followed the King, the merchants followed the nobles and the peasants were clothed in the simplest of garments.”

However, from women’s hairstyle to food everything was maintained under sumptuary law & breaking these laws could be harsh for anyone because of penalty system. But the most interesting fact is most of the countries in Europe like England, Spain, France, Italy, German etc accepted these sumptuary laws.

Women’s Clothing:

Women’s clothing had different priorities based on culture. Italian people followed their cultural heritage on the other hand German and Switzerland used heavy and detailed work in their dress. English people are always elegant with their fashion sense & same goes for France too although France was inconsistent in fashion. Medieval women mainly used to wear “Kirtles” which consisted full length tunics covering their ankles. General women used two tunics and sometimes a long cloak around the tunic. In some case short kirtles were seen to wear on tunics. A belt-like item was used to create a long-waist appearance which was regarded as “Gridle”.

A ride by the Medieval Party. Courtesy: Photo by Matheus Frade on Unsplash

A ride by the Medieval Party. Courtesy: Photo by Matheus Frade on Unsplash

By the time tunics turned were narrowed and woman gowns became more emphasized. Use of headwear of scarf was seen. Women’s cloth started to become tighter and fitting. As far as Muslim women concerns, they used to wear long tunic that reached down to their knees. If women go to crowd, they used to wear veil in their faces. However, as wool was most popular fabric at that time most of the women’s cloth including tunica was made of wool.

By Team Stalwart,

Mentor: Sumita Bhattacharja Joly (2018-1-6-007);Dept: Textile Fashion & Design

Leader: Shariful Islam Akash (2019-1-6-040);Dept: Textile Fashion & Design

Executive: Nashita Ahmed (2020-1-10-041);Dept: Environmental Science & Engineering



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