Silk Industry in Suzhou, the Hometown of Chinese Silk Embroidery

Silkworm silk is a raw material. It can be turned into fabric after weaving. The imperial courts established a weaving and dyeing administration in Suzhou during the Ming and Qing dynasties, which was in charge of weaving silk fabrics for them. Its products included fabrics, imperial robes, official costumes, articles for daily use, and articles for royal weddings and birthdays of the emperors and empresses. There was also a public office in charge of producing silk for common people, and a division of labor for the weaving households and weavers. The north-eastern half of the city was occupied by silk weaving, and almost every family had a weaver. It was known as a place capable of ‘producing 10,000feet of silk a day for the whole nation’.

The middle and late periods of the 20th century saw the establishment of four major silk mills in Suzhou: Zhenya, Dongwu, Xinsu and Guangming. Modern machines have already replaced the old wooden weaving machines. They include electric looms, automatic weft winders and water jet looms. The products include Song brocade, Suzhou warped satin, brocade satin, antique satin, gold and jade satin, taffeta, printed crepe de chine of pure silk, and pure georgette silk. People like to add patterns to silk to make it exquisite.

pick mulberry leaves

Pick mulberry leaves

feed silkworms

Feed silkworms\

spin silk

Spin silk

weave silk

Weave silk

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