Silk - The Queen of Fibers

Powerful Essays
Silk, sometimes affectionately referred to as the “queen of fibers,” is the strongest natural fiber in the world, and it is used to make expensive cloth. There’s more to silk, though, than being great to make fine garments. Did you know that a thread of silk can be stronger than some kinds of steel? Probably not. We hope to give you more insight into the wonders of silk in our report.


One of the only – if not the only – documentation on the discovery of silk is an ancient Chinese legend. According to this legend, silk was discovered in the garden of Emperor Huangdi around 2700 B.C.E. The mulberry trees in his garden were being destroyed, and he ordered his wife, Xilingshi, to go out there and see what was the cause of the damage done to his trees.

When Xilingshi went out to examine the trees, she found white worms eating the leaves of the mulberry leaves and spinning shiny cocoons. She then accidentally dropped one of the cocoons into some hot water. And when she started playing with the cocoon in the water, long white strings disentangled themselves from the cocoon. It is said that this was how silk was discovered.

Xilingshi then went to Emperor Huangdi to ask him to give her a grove of mulberry trees, in order for her to breed thousands of worms that would spin these beautiful cocoons. The king then obliged.

Some accounts claim that she was the person who invented the silk reel, which is a device used to join fine silk filaments into a thread thick enough to be used for weaving. Others also credit her for being the maker of the first silk loom.

How true these stories are still remain uncertain with historians. One thing they are sure about, though, is that silk was first used in China. The Ch...

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...pired designs (like leaves or cherry blossom trees) or of animals (like dragons or phoenixes). Pictures of Chinese silk are on the last page of the report.

Works Cited

"History of Silk." Silkroad Foundation. Silkroad Foundation, 2000. Web. 16 Feb.

2011. .

Hong, Lily Toy. The Empress and the Silkworm. Morton Grove, Illinois: Albert

Whitman, 1995. Print.

"Silk." World Book S-Sn Volume 17. 2004. Print.

Textile Fabric Consultants Inc., Amy Willbanks. "Silk."

amysilk.asp. fabrics INC, 19 Feb. 2011. Web. 19 Feb. 2011.


"Who smuggled the silkworm into japan + broke the silk monopoly of the Chinese?"

Yahoo! Answers. Yahoo! Inc., 2008. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.

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