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The Asian side of the world - II

Jean-François Sabouret

Part One. Regional dynamics and globalization

Sericulture in Asia: yesterday, today, tomorrow

Bernard Mauchamp

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August 2011


The term “sericulture” is strictly limited to the production techniques of the cocoons of a caterpillar, the silkworm. In a broader sense, it includes the stages of stifling and reeling to obtain raw silk fleets, which is how raw silk is marketed. Other interventions are necessary for obtaining silk fabric, the ennoblement of silks.

I will limit myself to a restricted definition of sericulture. As the silkworm feeds on mulberry leaves, culture of the mulberry tree is part of sericulture. The breeding of silkworms and the culture of mulberry trees is a saga that shaped the world.

History: the sericulture of yesterday

Tsunami in a cup of tea: splashed by the fall of a cocoon into her cup of tea, Princess Si-Ling-Chi discovered the secret of silk while trying to remove it. She drew out one very long, solid thread. After this observation in 2602 BC, the emperor put his wife in charge of producing this fabulous thread. Si-Ling-chi collected the worms and installed the...

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