Ancient statue found in Shanxi sheds light on the origins of silk


Archeologists recently unearthed a 6,000-year-old stone statue of a silkworm pupa in Xiaxian county, Yuncheng city, North China's Shanxi province. 

Located in the south of Shanxi, Xiaxian county is an important birthplace of ancient Chinese culture. According to legend, the wife of the Yellow Emperor, Lei Zu, taught people in the county to raise silkworms and how to weave silk. 

The newly discovered silkworm pupa statue is light-brown in color with striped patterns on its surface, and it is roughly the size of a date pit. It's one of the earliest stone statues of a silkworm pupa discovered in China.

Its excavation provides another example of a half-artificially cut carbonized silkworm cocoon, the first of which was excavated by the father of Chinese archeology – Li Ji – in Xiaxian county's Xiyin village in 1926. 

Duan Tianjing, vice-dean of School of Archeology at Jilin University, said that the discovery shows that people in the county probably participated in silkworm rearing and silk reeling 6,000 years ago.

Other cultural relic experts believe that the finding adds new evidence to the legend of Lei Zu and also provides important clues for the study of silk's origin and spread.