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History and Origin of Silk Flowers

Posted by Irina Floret on

When I first opened Floreti online shop in 2004, I decided to write about history and origin of silk flowers, since there was very little information available about this great art online. I set out to do my own research. Went through a number of art and history books, encyclopedias, back alleys of the library research rooms, and online resources; the article below is the result of my findings. I hope that you will find it an easy and enjoyable read. And hope that it will spark in you a greater interest in silk flower art. This is an update to an article originally published on site in September of 2004.

Water Lily Silk Flower Bridal Hair Accessory, Wedding Dress Corsage

Water Lily Silk Flower for Hair And Dress

There are many different accounts of silk flower origin. The one that seems to be most accurate is this art has originated in China with proliferation of silk production.


Chinese legend attributes the wife of mythical Yellow Emperor, Lady Hsi-Ling-Shih, with the introduction of silkworm rearing and the invention of the loom around 3000 BCE. Although, there are archeological evidences that sericulture existed as far back as 5000 BCE. For thousands of years silk has been used for many different purposes from the creation of exquisite garments, in household, to utilization in medicine.

Silk was also used in silk screen painting or printing. People in China learned to successfully use dye and ink on silk medium around 400 - 300 BCE, during the Zhou dynasty.


Silk flowers are said to have originated around 1500 years ago in the imperial palace, in China. The flowers were created for and worn by the ladies at the palace. In Chinese, silk flowers are called Juanhua.

Closely to 200 BCE, Chinese migration to Korea and open trade with Japan greatly influenced Korean and Japanese cultures, especially their artistic expression, even more so, after Japan reopened its border at the end of 11th century CE. Thus, allowing the art of silk flowers to travel to Japan and eventually to Europe, around 1500 - 1700 CE, with a growing trade with Portuguese. Finally, it came to France the heart of fashion then and now. From France this form of art had spread to many other countries.

Today, with technological advances most of silk flowers are made of plastic, polyester, latex and other manmade materials. They are not of real silk even though they are still called "silk flowers". The flowers are done on the scale of industrial production. Utilizing cutting molds, and press irons. There are very few places left where silk flowers are still done out of natural fibers and all by hand, the way Chinese and Japanese have done it more than 1500 years ago.

Hence, I am proud to bring you luxurious quality and unique design in this timeless form of art - silk flower.

- Irina Floret

Wedding Dress Sash Poppy Rose Flower Featuring Dupioni Silk, Chiffon, French Lace, Freshwater Pearls, Swarovski Crystals, and Feathers in Ivory

Wedding Dress Sash Poppy Rose Flower Featuring Dupioni Silk, Chiffon, French Lace, Freshwater Pearls, Swarovski Crystals, and Feathers in Ivory



Tregear, Mary. Chinese Art. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc, 1997.

Munsterberg, Hugo. The Arts of Japan an Illustrated History. Rutland: Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc, 1957.

Stanley-Baker, Joan. Japanese Art. London: Thames and Hudson Inc, 1984.

Internet Sources

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