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English term deriving from French/Latin meaning ‘silk cultivation’. See: Oxforddictionary. For the production of silk one needs the insect Bombyx mori. It is a caterpillar better known as the silk worm. It is native to China and prefers to eat the leaves from the mulberry tree. The ancient Chinese were the first to figure out sericulture, and produce silk textiles by using the silk threads from the silk worm’s cocoon.

The process is painstakingly long and the devil is in the detail. To get the silk worms to produce these cocoons certain timing and temperatures are required. Sericulture remained an industrial secret, and China held its monopoly until the seventh century after which it spread via Asia to Byzantium. For more information, see the web sites: Insects, A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, Britannica.

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