Friday, November 6, 2009

Under The Mulberry Tree

Approximately . 5000 years ago
The Chinese Empress Si-Ling-Ché
was taking her tea under a mulberry tree when a little ball dropped into her cup.
Under the effect of the heat and humidity, it reeled off a long white, shiny thread, the. silk.
Silk became highly valued and served as currency.
Its manufacturing secrets were jealously guarded and only finished products reached the West.
 Silk Road
The Silk route, or as it has been called ' The Silk Road' ,describes the movement of goods (not only silk but also perfumes, spices, precious woods etc.), ideas and techniques, as well as relations, between East and West.
The Silk Road is the most well-known trading route of ancient Chinese civilization. Trade in silk grew under the Han Dynasty ( 202 BC - AD 220) in the first and second centuries AD.

The route grew with the rise of the Roman Empire because the Chinese initially gave silk to the Roman-Asian governments as gifts.
Originally, the Chinese traded silk internally, within the empire. Caravans from the empire's interior would carry silk to the western edges of the region.
Often small Central Asian tribes would attack these caravans hoping to capture the traders' valuable commodities.
As a result, the Han Dynasty extended its military defenses further into Central Asia from 135 to 90 BC in order to protect these caravans.
VIth century : Justinien, emperor of the West, sent two monks to Tibet so that they could bring back to Byzantium silkworm eggs hidden in their pilgrim’s staff. Soon each Byzantine town was to have its own fabric production.
VIIIth century : introduction by the Moors of sumptuous fabrics to Spain, which was to become a major manufacturing country.. *my post on The MOORS

IX-XIIth century : silk weaving introduced to Sicily by the Arab Conquests. Founding of the first manufacturing workshop in Palermo. First imports were with the crusades.

XIII-XVth century : Venice and Florence establish themselves as independent centres.
XVth century : Tours (the first capitol of France) becomes a major centre for silk manufacture.
To prevent French currency leaving for Italy, with the import of silks, Louis XI knew that the country needed to have sufficient economic power to guarantee its independence and so dreamed of setting up a royal silk factory in Lyon. The consulate there refused, being fearful of seeing trade relations deteriorate with the Italians who, at that time, had a monopoly over the silk trade.

Following this refusal in 1466, king Louis XI, then in his Plessis les Tours chateau,
decided on 12 March 1470, that the first royal silk factory would be set up in Tours, which was then the kingdom’s capital.
The Tours silk factory was to prosper under Charles VIII
and Louis XII and was at its height under the reign of François I. Trade fairs, public festivals, royal accessions and fancy dress balls were the occasion of sumptuous orders. The most famous order was placed upon the occasion of the ‘Camp du Drap d’Or’ meeting between François I and Henry VIII, king of England, in 1520. Tours then rivalled the largest Italian cities.

Then the Tours silk industry was to experience the vicissitudes of fortune during the centuries and events that were to follow.
In 1536, François I created the first silk factory in Lyons.
The town then obtained a monopoly over the silk trade. This was the start of the competition between Tours and Lyon.
The court then moved away from Tours and orders became more scarce. The Religious wars and the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes resulted in lots of local entrepreneurs and weavers fleeing abroad. The introduction of printed calicos, Pebrine, a silkworm disease, and finally, the first world war, continued to accelerate the decline.

The silk industry in Tours was, however, to experience some good times, in particular, in the XVIIIth century, during which production increased enormously.
and Louis XV (the young and adorable) the ‘Royal damask and velvet factory’ was created.
Then along came the invention of the Jacquard mechanism, a system of perforated cards which memorize the design (motifs and colours) and, using a binary system, guide the needles raising the lengthwise grain.
This system permitted an infinite variety of combinations, broad width production and much greater capacity.
And so was born.

I came across this little story of the Chinese Empress beneath The Mulberry Tree having tea,
and by chance, she discovered SILK.
...I don't know what happened,
.This post just morphed into what you see here.

I hope you enjoyed it..
:) xxx's

Tomorrow is Saturday. I will be wearing SILK, and trying to look fabulous.

I have included a few interesting sites for you to go to
Newsweek says that The Silk Road is re-opening.

More On the History of Silk in Lyon

More about LYON

Tours France -


link :

Renee Finberg 'TELLS ALL' in her BLOG.....
Interior Design, Palm Beach, Boca Raton,Design Sources, Window Treatments, Custom Design, Paint, Color Coordination, Online Interior Design, Floor Plans,Design Center, Bespoke ,Silk, The Silk Road



  1. This is an absolutely incredible post! What I wouldn't give to have witnessed the Silk road and all the civilizations that made it what it is today. I love your nod to the Young and Adorable who must have gone buck wild with it in France.
    We take silk so for granted and its history is largely forgotten.
    Long live silk and all of us who are so passionate about it :)
    Thank you for this breath of fresh air!

  2. So interesting! This was a great read..., enjoy your silk!

  3. oh wow Renee great post,see i learn something new everyday and i do love silk specially the one i wear in my hair in the summertime..very interesting,loved the story..
    have a great weekend my friend.

  4. What a fabulous post of the history of that glorious material, silk.....and what a journey it has been on......isn't it funny....the stories and history of many commodities, Renee, and all were often forms of currency....tea, sugar, silk, salt and spices were all some of the most expensive items and were exchanged for all sorts of things. Very enlightening...we learn things everyday. XXXX

  5. I've always loved the tales of the silk route and especially the story of the empress who discovered silk. Beautiful illustrations too. Thanks for your comments on my blog. I'm sure I'm going to enjoy reading you too, Renee!Have a silky Saturday!

  6. Isn't it great that at least some folks have enjoyed silk all these years. Here in Atlanta at Lewis and Sheron, when I move from the fabric room to the "silk room" it takes my breath away.

  7. FAbulous Fabulous post Renee
    Although I knew some of this history.. the Silk Road.. etc..and the fact that silk worms come from the mulbery trees,... you have certainly filled some gaps in my education!! hehe

    I also have never seen that Van Gogh before!! Amazing

    Have a great weekend .. I'm sure you'll look a million dollars in your silk x Julie

  8. Sooo, I want to know where your went wearing your silk and looking fabo? Loved this post...well done!

  9. to the other renae,

    i WORK to work looking fabulous.

    xx oo

  10. Jacqueline

    yes, if we still used things we could see, touch, and actually use....
    maybe this banking situation would not have happened.
    we sell and buy things today that do not actually exist.


  11. Totally loved this post!!! Thanks for putting it together..

  12. Great post! I love reading anything about history....I'm hooked on the History Channel! not really the same as reading a book but hey that's all I can manage sometimes. I never knew that the French were so involved in the silk trade. It all makes sense now!

  13. Renee, so love your stories, so interesting and as I love to learn it is a real treat for me. thank you!!



Thanks for participating!!

About Renée Finberg

I have been in this business since the age of 22.

I love what I do and cannot imagine my life without Design.

Design Challenges are great.

And because of those challenges

I have imported fine antique pieces from Paris,

Designed and Manufactured Furniture,

Created Fantastic Window Treatments,

And solved all kinds of spatial & architectural issues

With my unique style.

If I can't find it, I create it.

My rooms would make excellent movie sets.

I am a visual, tactile and audio sensitive individual.

Creating is what I live for, not math, not spelling, not science.

Just Great Design.

Just imagine how it would be if each of us,

If only for a few hours of everyday,We could be in a space that is our very own.A place that is exactly the way we want it to be

Surrounded by all the things we wanted to see,

The atmosphere we wanted feel, smell and the sound we wanted to listen to.

Private Paradise



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