The common people mostly wore clothes made of plant fibers such as hemp and ramie, and, at the end of the period, cotton — but
The feeding of silkworms (which devoured vast quantities
of mulberry leaves), the cleaning of their trays, the unraveling of the
cocoons, the reeling and spinning of the silk filaments — , as was the weaving of plain cloth on simple
Professional weavers, mostly men working in government or private workshops, operated complex looms to weave the fancy damasks, brocades, and gauzes favored by the elite.