查看: 1101|回复: 3

[Society] The secret of the world’s rarest silk

    [复制链接]

4

主题

5

帖子

53

积分

版主

波斯猫

Rank: 7Rank: 7Rank: 7

积分
53
发表于 2017-9-9 16:38:39 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
  • By Eliot Stein
6 September 2017



  Each spring, under the cover of darkness and guarded by members of the Italian Coast Guard, 62-year-old Chiara Vigo slips on a white tunic, recites a prayer and plunges headfirst into the crystalline sea off the tiny Sardinian island of Sant’Antioco.
  Using the moonlight to guide her, Vigo descends up to 15m below the surface to reach a series of secluded underwater coves and grassy lagoons that the women in her family have kept secret for the past 24 generations. She then uses a tiny scalpel to carefully trim the razor-thin fibres growing from the tips of a highly endangered Mediterranean clam known as the noble pen shell, or pinna nobilis.

  

The secret of the world’s rarest silk

The secret of the world’s rarest silk
  Sant'Antioco is a quiet, salty fishing town on an island of the same name (Credit: Eliot Stein)




  It takes about 100 dives to harvest 30g of usable strands, which form when the mollusc’s secreted saliva comes in contact with salt water and solidifies into keratin. Only then is Vigo ready to begin cleaning, spinning and weaving the delicate threads. Known as byssus, or sea silk, it’s one of the rarest and most coveted materials in the world.
  

  Today, Vigo is believed to be the last person on Earth who still knows how to harvest, dye and embroider sea silk into elaborate patterns that glisten like gold in the sunlight.

  Women in Mesopotamia used the exceptionally light fabric to embroider clothes for their kings some 5,000 years ago. It was harvested to make robes for King Solomon, bracelets for Nefertiti, and holy vestments for priests, popes and pharaohs. It’s referenced on the Rosetta Stone, mentioned 45 times in the Old Testament and thought to be the material that God commanded Moses to drape on the altar in the Tabernacle.

  No-one is precisely sure how or why the women in Vigo’s family started weaving byssus, but for more than 1,000 years, the intricate techniques, patterns and dying formulas of sea silk have been passed down through this astonishing thread of women – each of whom has guarded the secrets tightly before teaching them to their daughters, nieces or granddaughters.


  Sea silk comes from thin fibres growing from the tips of a highly endangered Mediterranean clam (Credit: Eliot Stein)



  After an invitation to visit Vigo’s one-room studio, I suddenly found myself face-to-face with the last surviving sea silk seamstress, watching her magically spin solidified clam spit into gold.

  I slowly approached the small wooden table where Vigo worked, walking past a 200-year-old loom, glass jars filled with murky indigo and amber potions and a certificate confirming her highest order of knighthood from the Italian Republic cast aside on the floor.

  “If you want to enter my world, I’ll show it to you,” she smiled. “But you’d have to stay here for a lifetime to understand it.”


点评

点评几句: 4.0
点评几句: 4
I like it!  发表于 2017-9-15 23:57

评分

参与人数 1金钱 +5 收起 理由
newsoul + 5 赞一个!

查看全部评分

井底之蛙一个,哪晓得天地有多广阔。

1

主题

2

帖子

18

积分

版主

Rank: 7Rank: 7Rank: 7

积分
18
发表于 2017-9-20 21:13:23 | 显示全部楼层
不听老人言,吃亏在眼前。

9

主题

10

帖子

98

积分

管理员

蓝猫

Rank: 9Rank: 9Rank: 9

积分
98
发表于 2017-9-25 23:53:58 | 显示全部楼层

How beautiful the landscape is!
高级模式
B Color Image Link Quote Code Smilies

本版积分规则

关闭

新手推荐上一条 /1 下一条

QQ|手机版|小黑屋|New Soul English Learning Forum(纽颂学英语官网) ( 粤ICP备15053874号 )

GMT+8, 2019-9-16 20:39

Powered by Discuz!

© 2016-2019 New Soul

快速回复 返回顶部 返回列表