ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Story Of Silk and the Silk Road

Updated on February 6, 2016

Silk

preparing Silk
preparing Silk
Silk Clothing
Silk Clothing

Legend

Legend says that silk was first made by the wife of the Yellow Emperor 5000 years ago.She kept silkworms and invented the loom.Silk fragments,ribbons and threads dating from 3000 BC have been found in eastern China.

Silk

Over the years,the Chinese were able to breed a species of silk moth that is blind and unable to fly.Each lays 500 or more eggs in a few days then dies.After hatching,the baby worms are fed on freshly chopped mulberry leaves day and night for about a month until they become fat.Each then spins a cocoon around itself,and this is where the silk comes from.Every cocoon is made of a filament about 800 metres (875 yards) long.The cocoons are steamed to kill the worms inside,then they are dipped in hot water to loosen the silk filaments.These filaments are unwound and six to eight filaments are twisted together to make a silk thread.The threads are woven into cloth.

Silkworms

The Silkworm is the larva or caterpillar of the domesticated silkmoth
The Silkworm is the larva or caterpillar of the domesticated silkmoth
Silkworms Cocoons
Silkworms Cocoons
Farming Silkworms
Farming Silkworms

Emperor Wu and the Xiongnu

Emperor Wu (or Han Wudi) ascended the throne in 141 BCE.His two predecessors had strengthened the central government,weakened the kings and marquises,and accumulated a healthy surplus of grain and cash.This set the stage for Wudi`s reign,which was characterized by territorial expansion,activist government,and intellectual creativity.Wudi himself never led troops in battle,and it is an open question as to what role,if any,he played in devising and carrying out the policies for which his fifty-four-year reign is famous.Whatever the case,Emperor Wu`s government pursued a strong forward policy with regard to border affairs and the development of over-land trade to Central Asia along the Silk Road.

The Xiongnu were the central problem of the time.These nomadic pastoralists in Mongolia stood astride the trade route to Central Asia and were a constant threat to the peace and security of the northern frontier.Under Emperor Wu,the Han pursued an aggressive policy toward the Xiongnu.Military victories over the Xiongnu between 127 and 119 BCE prepared the way for Han expansion into the Western Regions.A second mission by Zhang Qian,probably starting around 115 BCE, and both diplomatic initiatives and military campaigns in the area allowed Han to bring its presence and strength to bear far into the Western Regions.


Emperor Wu
Emperor Wu

The Silk Road in Han Dynasty

It is hard to overstate the significance of Han expansion into Central Asia that begun during Wudi`s reign.Chinese merchants followed Zhang Qian`s lead and began to ply the trade routes to the Western Regions,exporting silk and other Chinese goods,which they exchanged for horses,other livestock,and luxury goods.This traffic along the Silk Road ultimately brought some Chinese silks from one trader to the next until they reached the Roman Empire,where it is said that they were so popular that bankruptcy threatened the capital.As for the defeated Xiongnu,their unity was shattered,and they were brought into a new framework of foreign relations:the tribute system.Under this system,Xiongnu emissaries would be sent on reular missions bearing tribute to Han emperors.The emperor would in turn bestow gifts to be taken back to the Xiongnu leaders.

Territorial expansion and trade were not confined to the Western Regions.Under Emperor Wu,administrative organs were established to the south in Guangdong,Guangxi,and Annam (northern Vietnam);to the southwest (Yunnan);and to the northeast (Korean peninsula).As with the Western Regions,trade was a major impetus for expansion into the south.Overseas trade centering on a port near modern Guangzhou brought Chinese silk to India,from where some of it reached the Roman Empire.Slaves were imported from overseas to Guangdong,and there was a brisk trade in enslaved women and boys on the overland routes from the southwest.

Ancient Chinese Silk Clothing

Imperial embroiderers in ancient China
Imperial embroiderers in ancient China
Han Chinese clothing, or Hanfu, refers to the clothing worn by the Han ethnic people from the ruling periods of the Three Emperors and Five Sovereigns to the Ming Dynasty
Han Chinese clothing, or Hanfu, refers to the clothing worn by the Han ethnic people from the ruling periods of the Three Emperors and Five Sovereigns to the Ming Dynasty
Shenyi (深衣) a type of Han Chinese clothing commonly worn from the pre-Shang periods to the Han Dynasty.
Shenyi (深衣) a type of Han Chinese clothing commonly worn from the pre-Shang periods to the Han Dynasty.
women making silk,Long White Silk... Long white sleeves are used in performances of classical Chinese operas and dances
women making silk,Long White Silk... Long white sleeves are used in performances of classical Chinese operas and dances

Book

The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia
The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia

Covering more than 5,000 years, this book, lavishly illustrated with photographs, manuscripts, and paintings from the collections of the British Library and other museums worldwide, presents an overall picture of the history and cultures of the Silk Road. It also contains many previously unpublished photographs by the great explorers Stein, Hedin, and Mannerheim.

 

Smuggled in Sticks

Silk was greatly valued and often used as currency(money).A man`s salary would be a certain length of silk per year.Silk garments were worn by Roman emperors,who called the Chinese Seres(Silk People).The clothes are beautiful,light and comfortable,being cool in summer and warm in winter.Because the silk trade was so valuable,Chinese methods of silk production were a closely guarded trade secret.Anyone smuggling silkworms eggs out of China was punished by death.Around 550 AD,two visiting monks took the risk.They returned from China to the Byzantine Emperor Justin`s court with silkworms eggs hidden in their hollow bamboo walking sticks.That was the start of silk production in Constantinopole(present-day Istanbul).The Persians learned the art of silk weaving from the Greeks,but it was not until the thirteenth century that silk production became widespred in Italy and the rest of Europe.

The Silk Road

Silk Route
Silk Route

Book

The Silk Road in World History (New Oxford World History)
The Silk Road in World History (New Oxford World History)

The Silk Road was the contemporary name for a complex of ancient trade routes linking East Asia with Central Asia, South Asia, and the Mediterranean world. This network of exchange emerged along the borders between agricultural China and the steppe nomads during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.), in consequence of the inter-dependence and the conflicts of these two distinctive societies. In their quest for horses, fragrances, spices, gems, glassware, and other exotics from the lands to their west, the Han Empire extended its dominion over the oases around the Takla Makan Desert and sent silk all the way to the Mediterranean, either through the land routes leading to the caravan city of Palmyra in Syria desert, or by way of northwest India, the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea, landing at Alexandria.

 

DVD

In the Footsteps of Marco Polo
In the Footsteps of Marco Polo

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MARCO POLO chronicles the journey of two ordinary guys Belliveau, at the time a wedding photographer, and O Donnell, an artist and former Marine as they set out to follow Polo s historic route. Equal parts travelogue, adventure story, history trek and buddy movie, the 90-minute film weaves footage from the duo s often perilous voyage with Marco Polo s descriptions and experiences. Richly enhanced with Belliveau s award-winning photographs, the program details their highs and lows as they retrace Polo s path, trying to see what he saw and feel what he must have felt.

 

Port cities

Port cities on the maritime silk route featured on the voyages of Zheng He
Port cities on the maritime silk route featured on the voyages of Zheng He

The Silk Road

The Silk Road and Ancient Trade: In which John Green teaches you about the so-called Silk Road, a network of trade routes where goods such as ivory, silver, iron, wine, and yes, silk were exchanged across the ancient world, from China to the West. Along with all these consumer goods, things like disease and ideas made the trip as well. As is his custom, John ties the Silk Road to modern life, and the ways that we get our stuff today.

The Silk Road

DVD

The Silk Road: The Journey from China to Turkey
The Silk Road: The Journey from China to Turkey

The Silk Road influenced the great civilizations of China, India, Ancient Egypt, Persia, Arabia, and Ancient Rome. The Silk Road was filmed by award-winning filmmaker Marlin Darrah, and crew. Filmed in high definition.

In 1271 Marco Polo left Venice, Italy on a journey of 4,000 miles to China. His book, "The Travels of Marco Polo," opened the trade route to greater traffic as cultures, ideas, and goods from the West and East were exchanged and great fortunes were made on the Silk Road. China traded silk, teas, and porcelain. India traded spices, ivory, textiles, precious stones, and pepper. The Roman Empire exported gold, silver, fine glassware, wine, carpets, and jewels. This program travels through five countries and thirty cities bridging the Far East with Europe. Visit these exotic lands and learn about their cultures, modern traditions, and histories.

 

Silk Road

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)