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Home > Sources and Types of Textiles > Silk > Sericulture

SilkwormsSericulture is the rearing of silkworms for the production of raw silk. Although there are several commercial species of silkworms, Bombyx mori is the most widely used and intensively studied. According to Chinese records, the discovery of silk production from B. mori occurred about 2,700 B.C. Today, China and Japan are the two main producers, together manufacturing more than 50% of the world production each year.

The sericulture process begins with washing the silkworm eggs that had been stored over the winter.

After the eggs have hatched, the larvae are spread out on trays to grow.  They are fed chopped mulberry leaves for about a month.

The rushes on the trays have to be cleaned regularly.

SericultureSpinning may take about a week, after which the cocoons have to be unraveled.  Here the cocoons are in a pot of hot water, which both kills the worms and loosens the filaments and lets the cocoons float freely.  The filaments from several cocoons are reeled off together to make a strong thread.

To make stronger warp threads, it is necessary to twist several single threads together on a spooling frame.

Silk threads are wound onto smaller reels for weaving.

In preparation for weaving, the warp threads are laid out and rolled up.

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