An amazing golden cape made from the silk of spiders has gone on display at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. It took more than four years to make the four-metre-long hand-woven textile from the silk of 1.2million female golden orb spiders, native to Madagascar.
It was made by Englishman Simon Peers and American Nicholas Godley, both of whom have lived and worked in Madagascar for many years. Spiders were collected every morning before silk is extracted from them by trained handlers. They were returned to the wild at the end of each day.
The process is extremely laborious – on average, 23,000 spiders are needed to create about 28 grams of silk, according to the museum.
The last known spider silk textile was made for an exhibition in Paris in 1900 but no examples remain.
The textile is on show at the museum from Jan. 25 to June 5.