Object 1: Mulberry Silk

May 27, 2021


Mulberry Silk is a fabric that originated from Neolithic China in 2700 BCE. It came from the filaments of the cocoon from silk worms. It was used in the production of clothes and fabric for furniture. It is an interesting object from TOK’s perspective because it showed the cultural importance to chinese people and how later it gave knowledge to other countries about this material. In Neolithic China, silk represented the growing economy and development of trading between the countries and a symbol of status. Sewing was a huge part of the culture before silk was discovered and only the royal family and the nobles were allowed to wear it. The status was recognised by the embroideries that were sown. It was a huge secret that Chinese kept for 1000 years since it was desired by a lot of nobles around the world. The discovery of silk is unknown, but in the legend a silkworm cocoon fell into the emperor’s wife’s tea and bloomed revealing a strong, soft thread. Silk was used for making clothes and material for furniture in China. It is interesting because the culture of sewing gave knowledge about how silk can be used in the industry. This highlights that the knowledge and the culture of doing something ( sewing) can be used to discover things that can change the whole world.
Also, the culture of making silk then led to trading and discovery of the silk. A lot of noble men wanted silk since it was something that represented high status and no one knew how to make it. So, by 130 BC China started trading with the West and the Silk Road began. By 140 BC India was the second largest producer of silk. It enriches the exhibition because it shows a strong connection between how somebody’s culture give knowledge to someone and this knowledge can be turned into a huge business industry.

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