Silk Princesses

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Luna di Seta
Principesse della Seta

The Silk Princesses

Silk is greatly appreciated but little is known of its origin, who created it and when. Join us as we explore this history steeped in stubbornness, ingenuity and generosity, all completely feminine. An ancient Chinese legend says that silk was discovered in the era of the Yellow Emperor, owing to the ingenuity of his wife: Princess Lei-Tsu.

Princess Lei-Tsu

Every afternoon Lei-Tsu would drink tea in the exquisite gardens of the imperial palace in the shade of a large mulberry tree. One day she reached the tree and noticed there was no more shade: the leaves were completely ruined, and those of the other mulberry trees were too. Determined to solve the mystery, Lei-Tsu spoke with the Emperor about it. Guards were positioned to watch over the trees, but no one could get to the bottom of the problem.

Principesse della Seta
Principesse della Seta

A Cup of Tea

On the third day, while she was sipping tea in the shade of one of the few still green trees, a small cocoon fell into her cup. Lei-Tsu gently dipped her fi ngertips into the warm beverage and pulled out a light, shimmering thread, which she slowly wound around her fi ngers: and so it was that silk came into being.

Feminine Knowledge

Lei-Tsu decided to grow mulberry trees to feed the silkworms, developed a new loom and taught the art of weaving silk to the women of the court. Silk thus became a delicate, exclusively feminine secret, to which men were barred. Such was the importance of the discovery that the young empress was given a place among the divinities, with the name of Can Nai Nai (the Silkworm Mother).

Principesse della Seta
Principesse della Seta

A Royal Fabric

The years and centuries passed and silk conquered princes and nobles the world over, including the aristocracy of the Kingdom of Khotan. But silk was very expensive and diffi cult times loomed ahead for the Kingdom of Khotan.

A Precious Secret

The Emperor of Khotan asks to Chinese princesses Lushi for her hand in marriage and to bring the secret of silk as her wedding dowry. It was a brave gesture; silk was indeed one of the most precious and best-kept secrets of the Chinese Empire. Lushi agreed.

Principesse della Seta
Principesse della Seta

The Journey

Arrangements were made for the marriage and a caravan departed from China for the kingdom of Khotan. After many days of travel, the caravan reached the frontier post of the Jade Gate, which divided the two kingdoms. All the baggage was inspected, but no trace of the secret of silk could be found.

The Secret Kept

When Lushi reached the palace, let down her coiffure and silkworm eggs fell from her hair, while there were the mulberry seeds in her medicine chest used for their healing properties. There were three young women with her, whose nimble and skilled hands would have dealt with harvesting and weaving the silk threads. To give thanks to the gods for Lushi’s courage and the success of the journey, a temple was built and mulberry seeds were planted there. With this generous gesture Lushi paid tribute to her own people for a new form of knowledge, entirely feminine.

Principesse della Seta
Luna di Seta
Principesse della Seta

The Silk Princesses

Silk is greatly appreciated but little is known of its origin, who created it and when. Join us as we explore this history steeped in stubbornness, ingenuity and generosity, all completely feminine. An ancient Chinese legend says that silk was discovered in the era of the Yellow Emperor, owing to the ingenuity of his wife: Princess Lei-Tsu.

Principesse della Seta

Princess Lei-Tsu

Every afternoon Lei-Tsu would drink tea in the exquisite gardens of the imperial palace in the shade of a large mulberry tree. One day she reached the tree and noticed there was no more shade: the leaves were completely ruined, and those of the other mulberry trees were too. Determined to solve the mystery, Lei-Tsu spoke with the Emperor about it. Guards were positioned to watch over the trees, but no one could get to the bottom of the problem.

Principesse della Seta

A Cup of Tea

On the third day, while she was sipping tea in the shade of one of the few still green trees, a small cocoon fell into her cup. Lei-Tsu gently dipped her fi ngertips into the warm beverage and pulled out a light, shimmering thread, which she slowly wound around her fi ngers: and so it was that silk came into being.

Principesse della Seta

Feminine Knowledge

Lei-Tsu decided to grow mulberry trees to feed the silkworms, developed a new loom and taught the art of weaving silk to the women of the court. Silk thus became a delicate, exclusively feminine secret, to which men were barred. Such was the importance of the discovery that the young empress was given a place among the divinities, with the name of Can Nai Nai (the Silkworm Mother).

Principesse della Seta

A Royal Fabric

The years and centuries passed and silk conquered princes and nobles the world over, including the aristocracy of the Kingdom of Khotan. But silk was very expensive and diffi cult times loomed ahead for the Kingdom of Khotan.

Principesse della Seta

A Precious Secret

The Emperor of Khotan asks to Chinese princesses Lushi for her hand in marriage and to bring the secret of silk as her wedding dowry. It was a brave gesture; silk was indeed one of the most precious and best-kept secrets of the Chinese Empire. Lushi agreed.

Principesse della Seta

The Journey

Arrangements were made for the marriage and a caravan departed from China for the kingdom of Khotan. After many days of travel, the caravan reached the frontier post of the Jade Gate, which divided the two kingdoms. All the baggage was inspected, but no trace of the secret of silk could be found.

Principesse della Seta

The Secret Kept

When Lushi reached the palace, let down her coiffure and silkworm eggs fell from her hair, while there were the mulberry seeds in her medicine chest used for their healing properties. There were three young women with her, whose nimble and skilled hands would have dealt with harvesting and weaving the silk threads. To give thanks to the gods for Lushi’s courage and the success of the journey, a temple was built and mulberry seeds were planted there. With this generous gesture Lushi paid tribute to her own people for a new form of knowledge, entirely feminine.

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