Researchers replicate China's lightest ancient silk clothing


The original silk garment is exhibited in Hunan Provincial Museum in Changsha, Hunan province, on Nov. 29, 2017. (File photo: VCG)

Chinese researchers have managed to replicate a 49-gram item of silk clothing dating back more than 2,000 years, according to the museum that has it in collection.

Unearthed in a tomb in Western Han Dynasty (202 B.C.- 8 A.D.) in central China's Hunan Province, two ancient garments weighing less than 50 grams each are considered the world's lightest silk clothing.

A joint team from Hunan Provincial Museum and Nanjing Yunjin Institute managed to create a 49-gram duplicate with all the color details after working on it for two years.

"Silk worms have become fatter today than in the western Han Dynasty and spin much heavier silk," said Yang Jiyuan, an expert with the Nanjing institute. "The machines used for weaving have also changed a lot."

To create the duplicate, the team found a special variety of silkworm that can spin light silk, and designed weaving machines similar to ancient ones.

The duplicate is expected to replace the original silk clothing, and to be on display in the Hunan Provincial Museum.