Silk had been China’s best kept secret since 3000 BC, as much as 4000 years later did the west finally start producing their own silk.
So how did China discover silk you may ask? Well legend has it that one day, Empress Hsi Ling Shi, Wife of Emperor Huang, was sitting under a mulberry tree sipping tea when a cocoon fell into her cup and began to unravel. As it unraveled, it revealed fine, shimmering strands of silk that came from a Bombyx mori silkworm found in the white mulberry. This accidental discovery thus began sericulture, the cultivation of silk through silkworms, and the development of the reel and loom. Soon, silk became a fabric of luxury and high value, so to keep its mysterious origin under wraps. Smugglers who tried to take the eggs or silkworms through border crossings faced heavy punishments that at times, resulted in death.
What we now know as The Silk Road, was the path where Chinese silk first entered the global market, and quickly caught the eyes of the global elite. As soon as The Silk Road was established in second century BC, it became a currency and commodity alike to gold, seducing people with it’s decadence. When the secret did eventually get out, it took years for countries such as Korea, Japan, and then known as Persia to catch up with China’s expertise and quality.
GCG’s emphasis on silk from the best craftsmen of Hangzhou and Suzhou seeks to express the the same passion and beauty as the first artists who weaved for generations of Chinese elites.