IKTT (Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles), from SiemReap Cambodia
IKTT (Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles), from SiemReap Cambodia

Yellow Raw Silk

Yellow raw silk, which has just reeled off cocoons, is so beautiful that it sometimes appears to be golden colored. The silkworm of this yellow silk is a specific kind in the tropical regions, which feed on the same mulberry leaves as silkworms generally used for sericulture in Japan. Recently this type of silkworms is considered to be the ancestor of the white ones in Japan and China, and we also found a good ground to confirm the fact through our investigation into mulberry trees. Cambodian silkworms still preserve its wild condition, compared with the ones in Japan or China that are improved breeds for machine use. Even though we produce raw silk from both of silkworms in the same way, the beauty of the two is different. Cambodian silk is suppler, but stronger, and the more you use and wash it, the deeper the tone of its color turns.
In earlier times, there were this yellow type of silkworms also in Japan and people used to call them “Cambouju”, which suggested that the silkworms had been introduced from Cambodia.
The sericulture had been flourished in Cambodia until a conflict broke out in 1970. Khmer silk had become a synonym for a good raw silk at a royal house in Laos. On the other hand, Thai silk is famous and valued on in Japan these days, but it is said that sericulture in Thailand has originally started by the Khmer having lived around the border of Thailand and Cambodia.
The first task for trainees is to fix the raw silk. There are dusts and splits on the raw silk spun by hand, so they remove the dirt and make them clean. Through the process, there are waste yarns from the raw silk. The trainees tie them up to make good use of them, which not only takes a great deal of time, but also needs patience. In Japan people have quitted doing it long time ago, because it is troublesome. It is a hard work, but it is important for the trainees to be able to do it naturally, which I consider it as the base for the craftsman of textile.

update : 2003年04月09日 09:15

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