Over the past fifty years, archaeological explorations in China have unearthed a wealth of textile materials, some dating as far back as five thousand years. In this magnificently researched and illustrated book, preeminent Western and Chinese scholars draw upon these spectacular discoveries to provide the most thorough account of the history of silk ever written. Encyclopedic in breadth, the volume presents a chronological history of silk from a variety of perspectives, including archaeological, technological, art historical, and aesthetic. The contributors explore the range of uses for silk, from the everyday to the sublime. By directly connecting recently found textile artifacts to specific references in China's vast historical literature, they illuminate the evolution of silk making and the driving social forces that have inspired the creation of innovative textiles through the millennia.