J. Forbes (John Forbes) Royle.

Essay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] online

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duced from worms — from Patta, and made from or with



SILK CULTURE IN INDLA. 117

valued for their useful qualities in India, are now import of in-

... , 1 1 1 • 1 !• ^'*"' SHk into

beginning to be esteemed and desired tor some Europe.
of the manufactures of this country. At what
period the Silk of India was first introduced into
Europe, it is probably impossible to ascertain, foi*
it must often have been confounded with that from
China; as the sources of both were so little
known, that the accounts of Silk are frequently
confounded with those of Cotton.

The Ancients describe Silk under the names of suk, ancient
Sericum and Bombykia, the latter derived from
Bombyx^ the insect, and the former from Serica
and Sereinda, the remote country beyond the probably ob-
Ganges, where Silk was produced, or from Seres, cwna.
the people who inhabited it. This country pro-
bably was China, from the frontiers of which the
Persians conveyed merchandize across central
Asia to the coast of Syria. A portion of this was,
no doubt, diverged from some part of the route,
towards India, and in works now in use there,

kuti (?), soft sheep skin, sharp swords, «&c' There can be no
doubt that by Intajam we must understand Silk; patlajam is
more questionable, patta meaning a plant, from the fibres of
which a coarse cloth or canvas is made : what is meant by
kute hritam I do not know. The most important difference in
the reading is that regarding Silk- worms, which is the sense
Mutiah attaches to paita kttdn. No such compound occurs in
my copies^ the version being there, 'pattajam Hlajam tathd.'
It is, therefore, very questionable if the Mahabharat is autho-
rity for the introduction of the worms from China into India.
Silk, both raw and manufactiired, was no doubt an article of
import from China into India at a very early date."



1 18 SILK CULTURE IN INDIA.

the country whence it came is noticed, under
the name of Katliai, (China) the old Cathay of
our own Authors.

Silk from Ctiina Xhc RomanS CStcemcd Silk so much that Mar-
esteemed by

the Romans; cus Autouiuus Sent an cmbassy to China, to open
a direct communication with that country ; but
the Ambassadors, who proceeded by way of Eg:ypt
and India, do not seem to have been more suc-

siik-worms in. cessful than thosc of modern times. Silk-worms,

troduced into

Kurope; as is wcll known, were subsequently introduced

into Europe by two Persian monks, in the year
552, conveying the eggs in a hollow cane to Con-
stantinople. The worms w ere fed upon the leaves
of the Mulberry tree, which was, fortunately, in-
digenous in Europe.

Culture of, long The culturc of the Silk- worm was for six hun-

coniined to ter- , . /• i /-<

ritories of drcd ycars confined to the territories of the Greek

Greek empire ; . ^t- • • i i ■, i . i ^

empire. Yet it might have been supposed that
the eggs of an insect so highly valued, and which
had been brought from China to Constantinople,
would in this long period have been introduced
into other parts of Europe. This, however, did
introduced into not take placc till Rosjcr I. of Sicily carried into

Sicily; ^ '^ "^ .

captivity a considerable number of Silk- weavers,
whom he compelled to settle at Palermo, and to
impart the knowledge of their art to his subjects.
Twenty years afterwards the silks of Sicily are
described as having attained a decided excel-
lence. By degrees, a knowledge of the several
processes spread over the greater part of Italy,
sjwin; and ^vas carried into Spain. It is said, that Silk



SILK CULTURE IN INDIA. 119

Was first introduced into France by Louis XI., cuuareof suk

J. . J introduced into

who obtained workmen from Genoa, Venice, and France;
Florence, and established them at Tours in the year
1480, under very extensive privileges ; but it was
notuntil the reign of Francis I. that much progress
was made in the Silk Manufacture in France.*

In those days so little encouragement was
afforded in England even to machinery, that the
Rev. W. Lee, of St. John's College, Cambridge,
who invented an engine for knitting or weaving
stockings, was induced to comply with the invi-
tation of Henry IV. of France, and, accompanied
by several journeymen, established his looms at and «»"



Online LibraryJ. Forbes (John Forbes) RoyleEssay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] → online text (page 9 of 32)