Starting with the sudarium (a line1n kerchief used by the Romans to wipe their necks and faces) the scarves is an ancient item in the history of European dress. Older yet, representations of fringed rectangles can be seen gracing Chinese sculptures which date back to 1000 years before Christ. Under the ancient Romans, the scarves developed into a variable and diverse men's fashion accessory, whether knotted to a belt or worn around the neck. The style was quickly adopted by the ladies. Over the centuries, these generous squares of silk have become the most versatile and varied of women's accessories.
In recent months the scarves has experienced a revival, once again the item most coveted by women around the world. As a head-covering, the scarves's appeal is characterized by an aura of elegance (scarves have ever been fundamental to film-divas' allure) and by its variability (tied under the chin, behind the neck or worn as a turban). Scarves have been worn tied at the wrist, and glamorize even something as functional as a handbag when tied around the strap).
Silk scarves and thread are made from the cocoon of the silk worm. The average cocoon contains 300-400 meters of silk. For 2.2 lbs of raw silk to be produced it takes 5500 worms. One group of eggs produces about 20,000 worms, which will consume about two thousand pounds of Mulberry leaves during their lifetime. Silk has been unearthed in the Quianshanyang village of Huzhou in Zhejiang, China and has been estimated to have been produced and used over 4,500 years ago. Legend has it that it was around 2,600BC when Yuen Fei, a concubine to the then ruling Emperor discovered this unique thread. It was said she dropped a worm cocoon into her tea and it came unraveled. Because of this discovery she has been worshipped as the goddess of Silk.
The Different Types of Silk
There are several kinds of thread and fabric and each has its own unique characteristics. The difference between the types of leaves the worm consumes:
- The Bombyx mori moth which feeds on Mulberry leaves produces the best cocoons from which the finest quality is made.
- Worms that feed on Oak tree leaves produced cocoons from which the result is called Tusan.
- When two silk worms spin a cocoon together they make a strong double thread silk. From this thread of the cocoon called Dupioni is produced.
- Shantung silk is a hearty wild silk fabric with a rough surface. This comes from the region of Shanting in China.
- Another type of crisp fabric is called Organdy and it comes from the town named Urgerch which located in present day Uzbekistan in Central Asia. From this town came the earliest purchase of this miraculous material as it was located on the old silk trading route to China.