Silk Production and the Silk Trade Silk is a textile of ancient Chinese origin, woven from the protein fibre produced by the silkworm to make its cocoon, and was developed, according to Chinese tradition, sometime around the year 2,700 BC.
Indeed, the Silk Roads became more popular and increasingly well-travelled over the course of the Middle Ages, and were still in use in the 19 century, a testimony not only to their usefulness but also to their flexibility and adaptability to the changing demands of society.
Nor did these trading paths follow only one trail – merchants had a wide choice of different routes crossing a variety of regions of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Far East, as well as the maritime routes, which transported goods from China and South East Asia through the Indian Ocean to Africa, India and the Near East.
Knowledge about silk production was very valuable and, despite the efforts of the Chinese emperor to keep it a closely guarded secret, it did eventually spread beyond China, first to India and Japan, then to the Persian Empire and finally to the west in the 6 About the same time [ca.
550] there came from India certain monks; and when they had satisfied Justinian Augustus that the Romans no longer should buy silk from the Persians, they promised the emperor in an interview that they would provide the materials for making silk so that never should the Romans seek business of this kind from their enemy the Persians, or from any other people whatsoever.
Indeed, maritime trading links were established between Arabia and China from as early as the 8 century AD.
Technological advances in the science of navigation, in astronomy, and also in the techniques of ship building combined to make long-distance sea travel increasingly practical.When they had announced these tidings, led on by liberal promises of the emperor to prove the fact, they returned to India.When they had brought the eggs to Byzantium, the method having been learned, as I have said, they changed them by metamorphosis into worms which feed on the leaves of mulberry.Similarly, whilst extensive trade took place over the network of rivers that crossed the Central Asian steppes in the early Middle Ages, their water levels rose and fell, and sometimes dried up altogether, and trade routes shifted accordingly.Maritime trade was another extremely important branch of this global trade network.Thus began the art of making silk from that time on in the Roman Empire.Beyond Silk; a diversity of routes and cargos However, whilst the silk trade was one of the earliest catalysts for the trade routes across Central Asia, it was only one of a wide range of products that was traded between east and west, and which included textiles, spices, grain, vegetables and fruit, animal hides, tools, wood work, metal work, religious objects, art work, precious stones and much more.Its production was kept a fiercely guarded secret within China for some 3,000 years, with imperial decrees sentencing to death anyone who revealed to a foreigner the process of its production.Tombs in the Hubei province dating from the 4 centuries BC contain outstanding examples of silk work, including brocade, gauze and embroidered silk, and the first complete silk garments. Make your own flashcards that can be shared with others.Learn with extra-efficient algorithm, developed by our team, to save your time.