What is the history of silk?

Sericulture (the culture of the silkworm) and the weaving of silk have been practiced in China from a remote period.

Legend dates this back to 2640 B.C., to Empress Si Ling-chi, who not only encouraged the culture of the silkworm but also developed the process of reeling from the cocoon.

This was a closely guarded secret for some 3,000 years. Silk seems to have been woven very early on the island of Kós, which Aristotle mentions, in a vague description of the silkworm, as the place where silk was first spun, In the 1st and 2d cent. A.D. silk fabrics imported to Greece and Rome were sold for fabulous prices. Up to the 6th cent. raw silk was brought from China, but death was the penalty for exporting silkworm eggs.

About A.D. 550 two former missionaries to China, incited by Emperor Justinian, succeeded (says Procopius) in smuggling to Constantinople, in a hollow staff, both the eggs of the silkworm and the seeds of the mulberry tree. Byzantium became famous for splendid silken textiles and embroideries, used throughout medireview Europe for royal and ecclesiastical costumes and furnishings. In the 8th cent. the Moors began to carry the arts of silk culture and weaving across the northern coast of Africa and to Spain and Sicily, and in the 12th cent. Spain and Sicily were weaving silks of exquisite texture and design. Other areas of Europe subsequently became great weaving centers. Lucca, in N Italy, had established looms by the 13th cent., and in the 14th cent. the city became famous for its materials and designs. Florence and Venice followed and wove sumptuous fabrics and velvets enriched with gold thread. Genoa's velvets became well known. France established looms, and under Louis XIV's minister Jean Baptiste Colbert it set the fashion with its beautiful silks. Lyons in S France became an important weaving center.

Early attempts were made in England under Henry VI to establish the silk industry, but it was not until the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, when many French refugee weavers fled to England, that the industry received a real impetus. The French settled in Canterbury, Norwich, and other places; but it was in Spitalfields, London, that the industry became important. Many attempts were made to establish sericulture in the American colonies: inducements such as land grants and bounties were offered, and many mulberry trees were planted. In 1759 Georgia sold more than 10,000 lb (4,535 kg) of cocoons in London. Pennsylvania had a silk industry, fostered by Benjamin Franklin, until the Revolution. The high cost of labor seems to have been the main deterrent to the success of sericulture in America.


What are the types of silk fabrics?

Fabrics made are plain weaves (taffeta, pongee), cords (faille, poplin), gauzes (net malines), pile fabrics (plush, velvet), crepes, satins, damask, ribbons, and brocade. Some of these weaves are ancient, developed on the shuttle looms of China and the handlooms of India, Greece, and Europe. In Europe and Asia the handloom is still used for the finest fabrics. Japan and China lead in the production of raw silk, with India, Italy, and France following. The United States is the largest importer


What are the fabric width?

We manufacture from 36 inches to 120 inches


What is minimum Lead time?

  • Stock Service: Same day shipment subject to availability of stocks. For stock status please click in Stocks Online Link.
  • Sample order - 4 to 6 weeks after order confirmation.
  • Bulk order - 8 to 10 weeks after order confirmation.


What is minimum quantities for sampling order?

  • Yarn dyed - 120 Mts for Silk and 300 Mts. For Polyester per color.
  • Piece Dyed - 25 Mts for Silk and 300 Mts. For Polyester per color


What is mode of shipment?

Courier / By normal Air freight/ By Sea.


What care should be taken for silk and polyester?

  • Silk – Dry clean only.
  • Polyester - Most items made from polyester can be machine washed and dried. Use warm water 40O. If ironing is desired, use a moderately warm iron.


Why does silk shrink?

Silk fiber is a protein, like our hair, and it does not itself shrink. The way the individual fibers are twisted together when weaving is what causes silk to shrink. Highly twisted yarns and loose weaves cause shrinking when water releases twisting energy in the fibers. It's a bit like twisting a rubber band then reducing the length, seeing it bunch up. Silk bunches up the same way.


A quick way to determine the fiber content of an unknown fabric. - The Burn Test

Wonder what that fiber is? The Burn Test is a quick way to determine the fiber content of an unknown fabric:

In a well-ventilated area, and away from flammable materials, unravel a few threads of the fabric in question. Lighting a match or lighter, move the sample slowly first up to the flame and then into it, watching carefully. Remove it from the flame, still watching the fibers and extinguish it if necessary. Silk fibers curl away from the flame, burn slowly with some melting, may self-extinguish when the flame is removed, and smells like burned feathers. Burned silk leaves a brittle, crushable round black bead after burning.


What are the limitations of screen printing on silk?

Manpho's silk prints are entirely made by hand by artisans: silks screens are hand made, and the screen printing and finishing of the fabrics is done manually.

Hand screen-printed fabrics require special understanding of the inherent aspects cited here below. We thank you for considering all the following points.

Some colour varaition can occur between sampling and production. We take all possible precautions in order to minimise variations but climatic changes, such as ambient humidity, differences between of lots of dye stuff, and the nature of manual printing can result in colour variations. Due to these conditions we cannot accept returns of prints because of colour varaitions.

The maximum dye-bath guaranteed is 75 mts. It is possible to produce up to 500 mts in one dye lot yet, for technical reasons we cannot guarantee lots, of more than 75 mts. Please consider this condition for adapting your production.

References with designs showing a lot of open ground may show tiny white spots due to the discharge of printing process chemicals. This type of motif reveals more of this kind of imperfections than all over designs.

The afore mentioned characterstics are the inherent qualities of natural hand printed silks which give them their unique and natural beauty. We would like you to be conscious of the nature of these fabrics as they cannot be compared to mechanically produced textiles.






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