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We had an absolutely perfect day with our tour guide - Rogin Luo - who took us for a hike along The Great Wall! Didn't know what to expect and were thrilled to have him as our guide. Very imformative, knowledgable and fun! We go to experience a part of The Great Wall that was unrestored and see all its natural beauty. Got a long history lesson along the way!

After the hike, we all went to lunch at a small place at the bottom of the hill. Located in a house, we ate lunch in the proprietors bedroom! What a hoot! Rogin is the Best of the Best! This tour company delivered for us and we are extremely grateful.

Westborough, Massachusetts
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Home  »  China Travel Guide  »  Chinese Culture  »  Chinese Symbols  »  Silk

Silk (丝绸), a sort of textiles, is made from cocoon fiber, synthetic fiber or artificial fiber. Silk is the specialty of China as well as the essential component of Chinese culture. Silk is light, soft and highly malleable. Han people invented and produced largely silk articles and made the first East-West trade exchange of silk, called “silk road” in history. Since Han Dynasty, Chinese silk was constantly shipped abroad in large numbers. It is well-known as one part of Chinese culture.

History of development
The earliest silk was discovered about 5,300 years ago, in Dawenkou culture period, which was found in 1958 by Chinese scientist. China is the earliest state to keep silkworm. According to the record, in the mid-Neolithic period, about 6,000 years ago, China began to feed silkworms and weave pongee. In Shang Dynasty, silk production began to take shape and had complicated weaving machine and high technique.

Along with the economic development of Qin and Han Dynasties, silk production reached a peak. The varieties of silk are divided into tought silk, damask and brocade. The emergence of brocade is an important milestone in the history of Chinese silk.

Tang Dynasty was a period of great prosperity of silk production. The production organization of silk was divided into court handicraft, rural sideline and independent handicraft. Meanwhile, the foreign trade of silk had also developed greatly, which made great contribution to prosper of Tang Dynasty. Song brocade, filament and gilding fabric are three special variety emerged in Song Dynasty.

In Ming and Qing Dynasties, the oversea trade of silk developed rapidly as a result of the emergence of development of capitalism. A group of typical professional silk town came into being. It is the most active period as for silk.

Hometown of silk
Huzhou city, Zhejiang province is the real hometown of silk which has been forgotten. Huzhou silk has a long history which can be traced back to 4,700 ago. In 1958, a number of thread and no carbonous tough silk were unearthed in southern suburb of Huzhou, which were proved to be the earliest silk textile with a history of over 4,700 years. The discovery made Huzhou as the oldest god of longevity of silk in the world.

From Spring and Autumn and Warring States to the Northern and Southern Dynasties, Huzhou silk exported more than 10 countries. In Tang Dynasty, the real staring point of silk road was Huzhou.  In Song and Yuan Dynasty, the graftage of mulberry got prevailing in Huzhou which improved the output and quality concoon fibre. In Ming Dynasty, areas surrounding Huzhou including Suzhou, Wuxi, Hangzhou, and so on , villagers operated in textile industry. In Qing Dynasty, the output of Linghu town, subordinate of Huzhou city equal to the output of Hangzhou, Jiaxing, and Suzhou.

Silk city of China

Shengze town(盛泽镇), situated in the south end of Jiangsu province, is the important production basement of silk textile. The temperate climate and plenty of rainfall are suitable for silkworm keeping. Shengze silk won prizes frequently and is highly praised at home and abroad.

Hangzhou silk always occupied important position in the Han traditional textile industry. The unearthed textile with a history of more than 4,700 year has revealed the long history of Hangzhou silk. Hangzhou silk features soft texture, beautiful color and great varieties.

Ancient cultural city of Suzhou is not only a garden city but also the city of silk. In Tang and Song Dynasty, Suzhou was the silk center of the whole nation. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, the royal high textiles were mostly from Suzhou. The 10 years’ production of Suzhou silk can go around the earth for 45 circles.

Huzhou is the earliest birthplace of silk and the oldest starting point of Silk Road. From ancient times, silk has become the important source of subsistence and the local pillar of the economy. In 2010 Shanghai World Expo, 60 silk national treasure such as the bilingual version Tao Te Ching made from silk, silk textile Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, etc. took foreigners’ breath away in astonishment.

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