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The Earliest Silk In China Was Discovered In Zhengzhou, Henan Province 5500 Years Ago

Date:Dec 09, 2019

Recently, Zhengzhou workstation, a key scientific research base of the State Administration of cultural relics for textile heritage protection, was unveiled at Qingtai site in Xingyang. At the unveiling ceremony, Zhao Feng, curator of China Silk Museum, Zheng Xiaoling, deputy director of Henan Provincial Bureau of cultural relics, and other officials announced the latest archaeological research findings: the silk found in Yangshao cultural site in Zhengzhou, about 5500 years ago in the middle of Yangshao era, more than 4000 years ago in qianshanyang site of Liangzhu culture, is the earliest silk found in China.


China is the first country in the world to domesticate silkworms and silk reels. As an important carrier of the origin of Chinese civilization, the origin of silk has been attracting worldwide attention. Zheng Xiaoling said that since 2015, the China Silk Museum and Zhengzhou Institute of cultural relics and archaeology have jointly applied to the State Administration of cultural relics for the project of "looking for the source of China's silk", respectively carrying out work at Yangshao cultural sites in the Yellow River basin such as Qingtai, Wanggou and Gongyi Shuanghuaishu in Xingyang. Zhao Feng told reporters that in 2017 and 2019, the scientific research team of the museum used self-developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent technology to identify the fiber material and organizational structure of carbonized fabric extracted from the urn coffin of Wanggou site in Xingyang. According to the observation of carbonized trace pores and residual fibers under the electron microscope, it was found that the warp knitted fabric, with thin yarn, was the trace of the four warp twisted fabric after carbonization. According to the results of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, it can be confirmed that the warp knitted fabric is the remnant of silk fabric. This is the same kind of silk fabric as that unearthed at Qingtai site in 1980s. The silk found at Wanggou and Qingtai sites in Zhengzhou and the bone carving silkworm found at Shuanghuaishu site in Gongyi proved that the silk making of silkworm had been started as early as 5000 years ago in Yangshao culture. "Silk culture is an important characteristic of Chinese civilization. We often say that linen comes from ancient Egypt, wool from ancient Babylon, cotton from India, and silk from China. This discovery is of great significance to the study of the origin of Chinese silk culture and the inheritance of 5000 years of Chinese civilization. " Zhao Feng spoke highly of the important value of the archaeological discovery.