In 1984, a piece of light-red silk gauze fabric, unearthed from Yangshao Site in Qingtai Village from Henan province, can be dated back to more than 5,600 years, representing the earliest known product of Bombyx mori sericulture in the world.
Shanghai Textile Research Institute has made research on it. As a slice of silk gauze fabric, it is sheer and sparse. It is found that people in primitive societies were fond of color to express their aesthetic ideas, as colored pottery, tattoos, and clothing. The color of the silk gauze is light red, perhaps pigmented with umber iron ore, representing the earliest unearthed colored silk product in the world by far. It is discovered from a coffin for the infant, used as wrapping the dead body. There used to be a tradition in ancient China that “Linen is for preserving the health of the living and silk is for easing the soul after life”. It was considered that the life cycle of silkworms was holy and connected with the whole universe and life & death. Thus wrapping silk fabrics can enable the soul to the Nirvana.
Silk Gauze, around 3,650 BC. From Qingtai Village, Xingyang, Henan