A Short Introduction to Chinese Silk-Making

This post has been waiting in the wings for too long! On yet another detour en route to see the Terracotta Army outside of Xi’an, my tour group stopped at a small silk factory–well, more accurately, it was probably more like a silk store with a number of demonstrations and exhibits about the silk-making process. This was mostly staged as an excuse to try to sell us merchandise (so common with package tours!), but before we got to that awkward final stage, we actually really enjoyed the part where they introduced us to the steps involved in making silk. In the video above, the woman is working a machine that draws out threads from the cocoons.

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The woman above is stretching cocoons for use in making stuffing for blankets. First, she stretched the cocoon across the smaller metal hoop on the right, then over the larger one on the left.

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Later in the process, the stretched fabric was pulled by each of its corners by four women, starting to resemble the blanket filling it would eventually become.

Anyway, as I said, the excursion was pretty interesting up until the point where we were left in a silk product showroom and silently pressured to buy things. But our tour guide was very kind about it, so we just waited it out until our seemingly pre-allotted time was up and we were picked up to (finally) to go see the Terracotta Warriors.

More on that soon!

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