Kaharan Silk Item in Aran'sha | World Anvil

Kaharan Silk


Kaharan silk - poems have been written about its softness, its gentle touch on barest skin. Its the finest of all textiles, the velvety king of every tailor's workshop. However, it is not only a rare commodity - obtaining it is a road paved with danger.
  Fearless villagers, known as Silk Hunters , brave the treacherous depths of mountain caverns, a labyrinth teeming with the skittering of countless giant spiders, to harvest the arachnids’ webs by hand. It’s a perilous journey and an even more harrowing descent. Each step into the abyss is a gamble, a silent prayer whispered against the shroud of darkness that envelops the brave Silk Hunters.
"Like the whisper of the desert wind through the dunes, so is the caress of silk upon the skin, a secret melody of the night, soft and eternal."
Veils of Desire, Azahar Salame


The raw spider silk is brought back to the villages, combed and carefully cleaned of dirt, residues and anything else that got caught in it. It is then washed by hand in the clear waters of the river until the fibrous strands lose their impurities, Once washed, the silk is draped over sandalwood frames and left to dry, serenaded by the whispering desert winds.
The resulting yarn, thick and lustrous, is then spun by the deft hands of experienced weavers and worked into bolts of clothing.   Depending on the kind of web the spider silk is harvested from there are different kinds of silk:

Coarse Silk:

This sturdy silk, known as "Kal'sheeda" is favored by travelers and merchants for its resilience to the elements. It durable enough for daily wear yet retaining a certain elegance.
  Common Silk:

"Pal'sha" silk, as it is commonly called, strikes a balance between durability and elegance, suitable for the attire of scholars and artisans. This silk is the canvas upon which a myriad of designs come to life, offering a balance between luxury and practicality.
  Royal Silk:

The most exquisite of all, "Sha'hsavar" silk, is reserved for royalty and nobility, its sheen like liquid mooonlight, often interwoven with threads of pure silver. The crown jewel of silks, this quality is as rare as it is beautiful. Woven by masters, it is said that wearing Royal Silk is like being enveloped in a soft cloud.


A dyer's workshop
The art of silk coloring is a delicate task, a symphony of ingredients that requires patience, precision, and the soul of an artist. Behind each dyer's houses, vats of vibrant dye simmer in hidden courtyards, their recipes a jealously guarded secret handed down from member to member within the Circle of Colors .
The yarn is carefully lowered into vast buckets of coloring that are made from a multitude of rare and exotic components, each one carefully selected.
As one wanders the streets of Al’Nahar, people are greeted by a cascade of colors, each with their own story.

Emerald green:
The green of fresh palm leaves, this color is achieved by crushing the green scales of the Green Dace and disolving the powder in cactus pulp .

  Midnight blue:
Crushed carapaces of Dune Beetles , muleberries and powdered pearl impart a celestial blue on the cloth, reminiscent of the endless night sky.
  Ruby Red:
Red reeds from the endless eastern steppes and the poisonous dewberry are the main ingredient for a deep, red color, not unlike the setting sun.A color of passion and power, the red silk is a favorite among lovers and fighters.
  Sunflower Yellow:
Honey, golden sunflower petals and the dust of Great Desert Scorpion shells yield a vibrant yellow. Bright as the sun itself, this cheerful coloring brings warmth to any garment it graces.
  Desert Rose:
Named for its rare main ingredient, a mixture of desert rose petals, powdered rose quartz and ground river shells gives the silk the color of a dawning day full of hope.
  Sandstorm Beige:
Pulverized Sandstone, camel hair and mud from the great river combine into a warm beige, almost eerily similar to the shifting desert sands from which the ingredients are born.
  Merchant's Delight:
Ground copper nuggets and the scales of Sand Stalkers result in a spectacular coloring - a tan that seems to shimmer with a coppery hue.    

The Silk Trade

Caravans guarded by hardened mercenaries are contracted with the dangerous task of transporting silk across the great desert to cities far and wide—a journey fraught with peril and rich rewards. These convoys brave relentless sandstorms, confront ferocious beasts, and outmaneuver cunning bandits, all while navigating through the ever-shifting sands and treacherous terrain towards their goal - the great cities.   Tales of their desperate fights with monstrous creatures and narrow escapes from the clutches of desert marauders have become the stuff of legend, tales woven into the very fabric of kaharan history. These stories, passed down through generations, told at campfires and in bedrooms alike, celebrate the courage, wit and tenacity of those brave souls who dare to travel the unforgiving dunes.   Upon reaching the safety of the cities, the silk undergoes one last, final transformation. At the skilled hands of the tailor's guild, the silk is sewn into ornate garments - clothes fit for kings and merchants, into vests and gowns that glimmer like rippling waters under the scorching sun.


Depending on the color and the quality used, silk clothing is both status symbol and fashion statement- rarer colors and higher quality silk convey wealth and influence. While a scarf or robe of common silk might attest you're a travelling trader with a bit of coin on the side, a scarf of royal silk surely shows great ambition, power and influence.
Travelers and Traders:

Merchant's Cloak

For those souls whose journey takes them across the lands and seas, silk clothing takes on a more protective role. The most common form of silk garnment for adventurers are travelers’ cloaks made from Kal'sheeda, known for its resilience and sturdiness while still being lightweight. These cloaks are often dyed a sandy beige, blending in with the desert from whence they came, and are commonly fastened with bronze clasps that mimic creatures of the desert.
Travelling merchants prefer garnments made from Kal'sheeda for much the same reasons, since it strikes a balance between durability and elegance. Their clothing is usually tailored to be comfortable for long travels, yet stylish enough to make a good impression when conducting business with strangers.
Scholars and Artisans:

Ceremonial Robes of the Celestial Circle

The scholars and artisans of Kahara don their own distinctive attire. Scholarly robes made of Pal'sha are often a deep, contemplative blue, symbolizing wisdom and the vast expanse of knowledge, but other colors are common too. These robes are trimmed with subtle patterns that hint at arcane knowledge and intellectual pursuits.

Artisans, on the other hand, wear tunics of vibrant colors, each reflecting their specific craft. These tunics are practical yet adorned with simple ornaments, often swirling and hypnotic patterns and usually worn with linen pants.
Noble and Royal Attire:

Noble Attire

The pinnacle of silk craftsmanship, crafted carefully over weeks by master tailors, are the garments of nobility and royalty. Kaftans, dresses and vests made of the finest silk, the luxurious "Sha'hsavar", are highly prized - in fact, a single piece may cost more than a worker earns in a lifetime.

Adorned with intricate patterns of mythical creatures and calligraphy, these garments tell stories of one’s lineage and legacy. The royal attire, often embellished with precious jewels and golden embroidery, is so mesmerizing that it can sway the hearts of even the most hardened warriors.
"They have an eye for silk"
Kaharan saying

Recognising the different kinds of silk is something that most natives of Aran'sha can do with a simple glance.
Foreigners or newcomers to the land however usually have a hard time to distinguish the subtle differences unique to each material.
"An eye for silk" is a saying that describes people that have integrated well into the society -
a compliment that they have absorbed the intricacies of the kaharan culture. It is an acknowledgment of one's standing within these lands and not a compliment given lightly.

Pronounciation   Kal'sheeda - spoken as "Kal-shida
Pal'sha - spoken as "Pahl - sha"
Sha'hsava - spoken as "Schah- sava"

Origins of silk  
Raw Materials
Silk Hunters
Circle of Colors
Tailor's Guild


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May 29, 2024 02:33 by Carolyn McBride

My goodness! Clothing really doesn't come cheap in this world, for those who gather the raw material to the very end product, but the finished garments sound wonderful! What a terrific article!

Magic, Dragons & Drama! Uclandia   If the real world is more your thing, come visit Sitka Cove A small town on the brink of explosive change fueled by secrets!
May 30, 2024 17:27

Wonderful - I like the unusual dyes used here and the nice little turn of phrase. Of course I'm very curious about the giant spiders that produce this amazing silk.

Stay imaginative and discover Blue´s Worlds, Elaqitan and Naharin.

Psst join the Copper-Party during Summer Camp 2024 and I would be very happy if you would celebrate my SC contributions with me.
May 31, 2024 07:35

Thank you for your kind words. The giant silk spiders will get their own article soon, so expect webbing, fangs and trigger warnings!

Sit down, my friend, and let me tell you of Aran'sha . A world where the sands shift and the stars sing, where the wind carries secrets and the twin moons keep silent vigil over it all.