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These factors all contribute to the ability of the whole cocoon to be unravelled as one continuous thread, permitting a much stronger cloth to be woven from the silk.
Wild silks also tend to be more difficult to dye than silk from the cultivated silkworm.
In July 2007, archaeologists discovered intricately woven and dyed silk textiles in a tomb in Jiangxi province, dated to the Eastern Zhou Dynasty roughly 2,500 years ago.
Although historians have suspected a long history of a formative textile industry in ancient China, this find of silk textiles employing "complicated techniques" of weaving and dyeing provides direct evidence for silks dating before the Mawangdui-discovery and other silks dating to the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD).
Legend gives credit for developing silk to a Chinese empress, Leizu (Hsi-Ling-Shih, Lei-Tzu).
Silk is produced year-round in Thailand by two types of silkworms, the cultured Bombycidae and wild Saturniidae.
The two other known works on silk from the Han period are lost.
The silk trade reached as far as the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa.
This trade was so extensive that the major set of trade routes between Europe and Asia came to be known as the Silk Road.
The Emperors of China strove to keep knowledge of sericulture secret to maintain the Chinese monopoly.
Nonetheless sericulture reached Korea with technological aid from China around 200 BC, Silk has a long history in India.