satin

satin, lustrous silk in which the filling is so arranged as to bind the warp as seldom as possible and so spaced that practically nothing shows but the warp. Satin was first woven by the ancient silk weavers of China and was greatly desired by early Greeks and Romans. In the Middle Ages satin, known as zatoni (from the name of a Chinese town) and samite, was rare and costly and was used for churchly and royal garments. As the secrets of silk making were carried westward, splendid satins were woven in Genoa and Florence, then at Lyons and in England in the 15th cent. Modern satins are made in a great variety of fibers, including synthetic ones.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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