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Watch Artifacts online: Episode 6 Silk: The Thread Connecting East and West

Beautiful, smooth, soft, delicate, strong, and precious: silk. This amazing fabric has captivated human imagination for over 2000 years. Throughout history, it has clothed the rich and powerful. But more than this, it has been a form of currency, a tool of diplomacy, a badge of rank, and a fabric of the divine. And silk, above all other treasures, has been the thread connecting East and West. It is an artifact that has truly shaped history. The discovery of silk is said to have taken place in China almost two and a half thousand years ago by the wife of the "yellow emperor", Huang Di. Legend has it that the lady H'si Ling made her discovery when a silk moth cocoon fell from a mulberry tree into her hot tea where it began to unravel. The empress has been revered ever since as "the lady of silk" who taught the Chinese to cultivate mulberry trees and raise silk worms. Her discovery of the secret of silk would profoundly influence the history of China and the world.

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