June 23, 2021

Vietnamese silk is highly valued in the world for its special qualities. World Silk Union Secretary General Fei Jianming agreed that “Vietnam’s silk industry has the best foundation among Southeast Asian nations with its thousand-year-old craft villages. Vietnam exports more silk fiber than Japan and China, and more raw silk than Cambodia and Thailand.” Vietnam is among the world’s top six silk producers. It is the third largest silk exporter in Asia and the 6th in the world

Let’s learn the process of creating traditional mulberry silk, that brings special values and found in Vietnamese silk.

Caring for newly hatched silkworms

After 10 days, the silkworm eggs hatch, the baby silkworms are raised in the small trays. The farmer picks the mulberry leaves and feeds it every twice a day. The mulberry leaves need to be fresh and be chopped into many small pieces

Raising silkworm

The next period lasts 5-6 weeks, silkworms eat continuously mulberry leaves all day as well as night until they grow to maximum size. This is the time requiring farmers picking piles of mulberry leaves

Creating silk cocoon

Farmer continues to place them into the ne (Vietnamese: né) where silkworms can build silk cocoons. It is time for the sacrifice of silkworms. They create silk little by little within 7 days, to transform to pupas lying in cocoons

Reeling silk cocoon

Firstly, the farmer dips cocoons into boiling-water in a cooking big pot, so the outer silk layer becomes softer to start pulling the silk from the cocoon. 10 strands of silk extracted from 10 cocoons are normally merged in the process of reeling silk cocoon. Those raw silk spinnings then are basked in the sun.

Weaving

The silk fibers are classified according to their quality, thickness. Therefore, the weaver can make a variety of silk cloths diverse in thinness, translucency, gloss, smoothness. Artisans said that cross-section of silk fiber is the triangle with rounded corners reflecting the light, that is the reason why it features with a special glow.

Dyeing

Before dyeing the silk cloths, once again artisans completely dissolve the glue of silk by dipping into the water. In the past, silk was traditionally dyed with natural dyes such as leaves, tree bark. Nowadays, because modern dyeing techniques are applied so the color of silk becomes more diverse.

Silk is a luxury 100% natural material especially in sewing ao dai, scarf, and handkerchief. Vietnamese often give it as one of the most opulent gifts.

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