On the Origin of Silk-ma Combined Textiles

Presentation by Xiyao Zhang, PhD student at College of Textiles, Donghua University, China, Visiting PhD student at CTR.


Silk and ma (a Chinese character which can be used to name nearly all plant fibres excluding cotton) are two kinds of the earliest fibres used by humans. Their properties, functions, as well as social status in the past, are different but they were combined in making textiles as early as 2400 BP when there was an archaeological mixed weaving fabric woven of silk and ramie-hemp threads in China. However, archaeological materials and ancient documents of silk-ma combined textiles are hardly discovered and the reason why these two kinds of fibre materials started to be used in combination is rarely paid attention to or discussed.

During my PhD studies, I have collected both archaeological artefacts and ancient documents of silkma combined textiles categorized them and summarized their characteristics. To find out the reason why these two kinds of fibres could be combined into textiles together and the earliest time they could appear, I have done deep research on the origin and features of using silk and ma fibres.

A free discussion among all participants will follow the lecture.

See the Preliminary schedule for CTR meetings and lectures spring 2023 (pdf)

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