Talking of spider webs, silk, muslin and haiku.

When it comes to delicate jewellery, spiders out-sparkle Tiffany's by a country mile - and on my early-morning bushwalk diaphanous dew-kissed webs were strung along the path like an exhibition of ethereal necklaces.

The webs shimmering in the pale winter sunshine were also reminiscent of the gossamer-fine silk and muslin fabrics demanded by Hindu rulers for the women in their royal households. The translucence of the delicate fabrics, with their gold and jewel-hued threads, was tested by laying them over flowers in the palace gardens, where they needed to sparkle with the transparency of morning dew.

As an interesting aside, this penchant of the upper echelons of Indian supremacy became popular with high-born French women in the early1800s, with Empress Josephine and her lady friends splashing their fine Muslin dresses with water to show off their figures before hitting the social scene. Unfortunately this rather risqué fashion trend lead to many women contracting pneumonia!

And moving on from India and France to Japan, the webs on my morning walk also reminded me of my fascination back in my Uni days with the Japanese verse form of Haiku.

Spider's Web

Dewdrop rosary.
Fragile silver citadel.
Death's lace handkerchief.

© 1992 Joanna Chesher


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