Silk Thread Pulley, Hand Carved Teak, Rooster Standing On a Pedestal. - Roadshow Collectibles

Silk Thread Pulley, Hand Carved Teak, Rooster Standing On a Pedestal.

  • $129.99 CAD

Silk Thread Pulley, From a Handloom From Burma, Hand Carved Teak, Rooster Standing On a Two-Tier Pedestal, Mounted On a Black Base, Late 19th, Early 20th Century.

This Antique Teak Wood Pulley Was Used To Raise and Lower The Heddle Bar On a Handloom From Burma. The Carving On The Pulley Shows The Love For Decorative Elements On Everyday Objects In Burma. Each Hand Carved Pulley Is Created In Different Shapes, Some Animals and Other Architectural Elements.


The Legend

According to well-established Chinese legend, Empress Hsi Ling Shi, wife of Emperor Huang Ti,  was the first person to accidentally discover silk as weavable fibre.

The empress was sipping tea under a mulberry tree a cocoon fell into her cup and began to unravel. The Empress became so enamoured with the shimmering threads, she discovered their source, the Bombyx mori silkworm found in the white mulberry. The empress soon developed the cultivation of silkworms and invented the reel and loom. 

Whether or not the legend is accurate, the earliest surviving references to silk history and production place it in China; and for nearly 3 millennia, the Chinese had a global monopoly on silk production.

The Silk Road

Though first reserved for Chinese royalty, silk spread gradually through the Chinese culture both geographically and socially. Silken garments began to reach regions throughout Asia. Becoming a popular luxury fabric to Chinese merchants, because of its texture and lustre.

Demand for this exotic fabric eventually created the lucrative trade route now known as the Silk Road, taking silk westward and bringing gold, silver, and wool to the East. 

The Silk Road 

Silk Road was some 4,000 miles long stretching from Eastern China to the Mediterranean Sea. The Silk Road followed the Great Wall of China to the northwest, bypassing the Takla Makan desert, climbing the Pamir mountain range, crossing modern-day Afghanistan and going on to the Levant, with a major trading market in Damascus. From there, the merchandise was shipped across the Mediterranean Sea. 

A Well-Kept Secret

The Chinese realized the value of the beautiful material they were producing and kept its secret safe from the rest of the world for more than 30 centuries. Travellers were searched thoroughly at border crossings, anyone caught trying to smuggle eggs, cocoons or silkworms out of the country was executed. The mystery of sericulture remained a well-kept secret for almost three thousand years.

Sericulture Spreads into Asia and Europe

With the mulberry silk moth native to China, the Chinese had a monopoly on the world's silk production until about BCE 200 when Korea saw the emergence of its own silk industry thanks to a handful of Chinese immigrants who had settled there. By about CE 300, sericulture had spread into India, Japan, and Persia.

The Roman Empire knew of and traded in silk. Despite its popularity, however, the secret of silk-making only reached Europe around CE 550, via the Byzantine Empire. According to a legend well enshrined in silk history, monks working for the emperor Justinian smuggled silkworm eggs to Constantinople in hollow bamboo walking canes. The Byzantines were as secretive as the Chinese, and for many centuries the weaving and trading of silk fabric were a strict imperial monopoly.

In the seventh century, the Arabs conquered Persia, capturing their magnificent silks in the process. Sericulture and silk weaving thus spread through Africa, Sicily, and Spain as the Arabs swept through these lands. 

By the 13th century, however, Italy had gained dominance and entered the hall of fame in silk history. Venetian merchants traded extensively in silk and encouraged silk growers to settle in Italy. By the 13th century, Italian silk was a significant source of trade.

Italian silk was so popular in Europe that Francis I of France invited Italian silk makers to France to create a French silk industry, especially in Lyon. By the 17th century, France was challenging Italy's leadership, and the silk looms established in the Lyons area at that time is still famous today for the unique beauty of their weaving.

Sericulture Today

The nineteenth century and industrialization saw the downfall of the European silk industry. Cheaper Japanese silk, additionally, the advent of manmade fibre, such as nylon, started to dominate traditionally silk products.  The two world wars, which interrupted the supply of raw material from Japan, also stifled the European silk industry.

After the Second World War, Japan's silk production was restored, and with improved production, Japan remained the world's biggest producer of raw silk, and practically the only major exporter of raw silk, until the 1970s.

China gradually re-captured its position as the world's biggest producer and exporter of raw silk and silk yarn. Today, Almost two-thirds of that production takes place in China.

Item Code - TOO2D2739WAR

Width: 2 7/8"  Height: 10"  Depth: 2 1/2"  Weight: 329 g

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