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

New history after 5,000 years

The natural silkworms existed in Cambodian forests 5000 years ago together with the mulberry trees. This silkworm's spinning raw silk was wonderful and it was brought out together with the mulberry trees from the forests, and sericulture history started at Yangtze River of China.

After the 5000 years, this history is going to end.

Someone might make objections to my such opinion, but it is doubtless real story that the original good quality silk have been disappearing by too much artificial improvement under the modernization and mass production manufacturing. As a result of it, the original values as silk clothing are going down. That is too bad.

But Cambodian silkworm's spinning yellow raw silks are keeping good original qualities. It is quite different from such white raw silks that are improved in industrialization.
I have been fascinated to the yellow raw silk for 25 years since my Thai period. I was fascinated by its flexibility, flavor and affinity with natural dye materials.

Until recently, the main stream among Cambodian silk manufactures was the modernization that means improving artificially. But recently the movement of considering Cambodian yellow raw silk again is coming out. It means the general atmosphere is changing that people think Chinese and Vietnamese white silk are different from Cambodian yellow silk.

Respecting the traditional manufacturing, not the machine made mass production. The difference is now being understood. Of course flavor of each textile is different. Additionally the traditional textile is durable. And the fact is that the demands of such yellow raw silk are increasing.

The trade commerce ministry of Cambodian government and UNDP (United Nations Development Program) become to consider the activity of Cambodian raw silk as the project by understanding such difference. The people related to the project are increasing to visit to PWF.

It means that the new 5000 years silk history is about to start after finishing the last 5000 years.

Morimoto Kikuo
Translation by Mr.Takurou MATSUOKA

update : March 13, 2009 7:28 AM

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