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Posted by on Nov 1, 2009 in Asia, China, Featured | 0 comments

Silk Factory, Beijing, China

Silk Factory, Beijing, China

Young boy marvels at silk worms in bottles

Young boy marvels at silk worms in bottles

 

Nearly every tour of Beijing takes visitors to enormous showrooms where all manner of jade, gems, pearls, wood carvings, ginsing and silk items are shown by  clerks eager to make a sale. The showrooms include educational displays that help visitors understand the arts and crafts.

Our tour of the Yuan Long silk factory included a salesroom for silk mattresses, duvets and comforters, along with a step-by-step exhibit of the production process.

 

 

Worker sets up thread of cocoon on assembly line

Worker sets up thread of cocoon on assembly line

It is amazing that an insect can provide the material to make such fine, soft fabric. And who first figured out that the fiber in cocoons could be extruded to make silk thread?

Boy looks on as worker prepares cocoon for assembly line

Boy looks on as worker prepares cocoon for assembly line

 

Machinery for unravelling cocoons

Machinery for unravelling cocoons

 

Floating silk cocoons

Floating silk cocoons

 

Broken cocoon with worm inside

Broken cocoon with worm inside

Some cocoons are soaked in water, then opened, the worms removed, and the silk hung over frames to dry.

Cocoon silk spread over frame

Cocoon silk spread over frame

 

Silk fiber is stronger pound for pound than steel.  It is also pliable, so after the cocoons are stretched over frames, the silk is laid out over a mattress-sized surface in thin layer upon layer. About 4,000 cocoons are used to create a 2,000 gm duvet.

Spreading silk cocoons to make a mattress

Spreading silk cocoons to make a mattress

 

Silk mattress filling

Silk mattress filling

The thin layers of silk filament are covered with cotton, resulting in an incredibly soft duvet, created by worms grown on mulberry leaves.

Silk thread is used to make fine carpets. The finest have 1,000 knots per inch, all hand-tied, as this woman is doing below.

china - carpet weaver

Weaver creating knotted silk carpet

china carpet weaver2

The fine silk enables the weaver to make up to 1000 knots per inch

 

 

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