This photograph is a reproduction of the first of a famous series of mural paintings in the Royal Textile Museum at Krefeld, Germany, illustrating the most important events in the history of the silk industry in Europe. The paintings are the work of Albert Baur and are done in wax colors on rough linen rep to give a tapestry effect.
The Emperor Justinian (A. D. 527-565) and his Empress, Theodora, are receiving the monks who have brought the precious silkworm eggs from far Cathay in hollow pilgrim staffs. On the steps of the throne arc the bundles of young mulberry trees which the pilgrims have also brought with them.
The imperial couple, who had long sought to solve the mystery of silk, are represented as eagerly interested, the Empress rising from her seat and the Emperor leaning forward.