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24.05.2019 / News, The Museum of Pharmacy

Byssus. Medicine from rooms of natural history – conference

Byssus. Medicine from rooms of natural history – conference

Byssus cloth, also known as “marine” or “sea silk”, is a rare fabric that is made using the byssus of pen shells as the fiber source. Manufactured on the Sardinian coast, it was the finest fabric known to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. It shines when exposed to the sun, and is extraordinarily light and durable. This almost transparent textile can survive 5 thousand years with no damage.

In 2005 Chiara Vigo founded the Museum of Byssus in Sant’Antioco where she lives and works. She is thought to be the only person left with the know-how of harvesting, drying and embroidering sea-silk. The tradition has survived for more than 1000 years now, passed on in Vigo’s family by its women.

A piece of this unique fabric will become a part of the collection of the Museum of Pharmacy in Warsaw.

On the 28th of May a conference will be held where specialists such as Chiara Vigo, Prof. Małgorzata Biniecka, Sylwia Tulik, Dr Lidia Maria Czyż will present the history and function of this valuable fiber.