|Images of Sericulture|
Textiles and Silk
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 most highly prized fabric at home and abroad was silk.
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 — all this was women’s work, as was the weaving of plain cloth on simple home looms.
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.