5,200-year-old silkworm chrysalis found in northern China

(ORDO NEWS) — A stone-carved silkworm chrysalis dating back at least 5,200 years has been discovered in Shanxi Province (Northern China).

This is new evidence in the study of the origin and distribution of silk. This was reported at the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology of Prov. Shanxi.

The length of the stone silkworm pupa is 2.8 cm, and the maximum diameter of the abdominal cavity is 1.2 cm. It was found in one of the semi-dugouts on the territory of the Shanguo Neolithic archaeological site in Wenxi County, Yuncheng City.

Based on the fragments of pottery found there, archaeologists have suggested that the age of the building is approximately 5,200 years.

Over the past century, many relics related to sericulture have been found in Yuncheng City, said Tian Jianwen, a senior researcher at the institute.

According to him, in 1926, Li Ji, one of the founders of Chinese archeology, found in the village of Xiying, Xiaxian County, a man-cut half of a mulberry cocoon, which has a history of 5,500 years.

In 1960, researchers discovered a ceramic ornament in the form of a silkworm chrysalis in Xiwang Village, Ruicheng County, which belongs to the late period of the Yangshao culture group.

In recent years, one “ceramic” and five carved silkworm pupae have been discovered during excavations in Shichun Village, Xiaxian County.

Researchers associate these discoveries with a legend according to which Lei Zu, the wife of the legendary Chinese ruler Huang Di, who is considered the discoverer of silk, taught the inhabitants of the southern part of the modern Shanxi province to breed silkworms and unwind silk from its cocoons.

The Shanguo site and the nearby Chujiazhuang burial ground are located in the southeast of Wenxi County. Large-scale archaeological excavations have been underway there since 2018.


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