Hotan jade, silk and carpet factories


On our (well-disguised) way to the different factories around Hotan !


Hotan jade, silk and carpet factories
Hotan is known all around China for its white colour jade as well as its silk (called "atlas" in Uyghur) and to a lesser extent its wool carpet factories.


Jade factory
White Hotan Jade is found in the dried up river beds a few rivers in the area. It is sold by the villagers to small factories that will sculpt the stones into the most complex designs. Jade is probably more common than gold in China and all sculptors were Chinese (instead of Uyghur).

The Jade market area at the Hotan Sunday market (Uyghur only) and inside the city's main jade factory (Chinese only).


Silk factory
Our next stop was at the Province's largest silk factory. Unfortunately no pictures were allowed in this Victorian working environment. The factory is one of the 500 largest textile factories in the whole country (95% of the remaining factories will most likely be producing cotton) and it has 1400 workers ! Silk worms eat mulberry leaves from the area. Silk cocoons are gathered in big bags at the factory where they are first boiled in a gigantic washing machine for 10 minutes. They are then distributed to 100% female workers who will take the thread of 8 to 9 cocoons to make up only one silk thread. Rolls of 180 meters of uncoloured natural silk are then either sold to outside factories or used in-house. Unfortunately, we visited this factory the day before May 1st and the weaving ateliers had closed down to prepare for "Labour" day.

Inside the factory shop. May 1st preparations in the street of the city.


Wool carpet factory
Next on our list was a small wool carpet factory, just outside the city. Men prepared the strings of the carpet with a "pilot" that went above a balk, about 3 meters above ground. Women used wool and made knots around this matrix of strings. After a series of lines of knots, a long pair of scissors would be used to trim the carpet !

Unused wool gathering dust, the successful "panda" model and finished goods (the first in original sheep colours, black & white)


Silk atelier
Our next visit was to a much smaller silk factory run as a community business. The way silk was made was identical, only the scale immensely different. There was only one person per step instead of the hundreds in the previous factory.

Boiling & spinning, preparing dyes and weaving 

Our National guide Mike, Uyghur style !



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