Thursday, March 29, 2012

Souzhou and the Silk Road

Silk production began in China thousands of years ago and was exported as early as the 5th century BC along the Old Silk Road to Asia, Europe, and Africa. Silks’ origin is clouded by the mists of time. It is stuff of myth and legend, a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Fashion & interior designers love its luminosity and intensity of color. The jacquard woven silk blend above is the Wesco Fabrics’ pattern Taj Mahal, color Turquoise.

Marla and I recently visited the Suzhou Silk Museum in China. Prized as the height of luxury, silk was produced for Chinese royal families by Suzhou weavers.

Marla chats with our guide about the museum’s expansion.

Lunchtime! Live silkworms munch on their favorite food, mulberry leaves.

Workers produce beautiful silks with traditional techniques. This is an ancient silk reeling wheel.

A weaver works on a Zhang satin weaving loom which was widely used in the Ming dynasty.

Intricate hand work is still practiced.

Suzhou is often called the “Venice of the East.”

Canal boats ply the narrow waterways of the old city.

The “Humble Philosophers’ Private Garden” in Suzhou is a beautiful treasure!

I grew up visiting San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Gardens. It is easy to see the influence of China on Japanese garden architecture.

Because I love to shop, I found Suzhou’s evening market. I was on a mission to find some small jade carvings.

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