From Tiangong Kaiwu (天工開物 or The Exploitation of the Works of Nature), a Chinese encyclopedia compiled by Song Yingxing,1637
In the first millennium CE, important developments took place in weaving technology. These were marked by the emergence of new complex weaves, including taqueté and samite structures, in wool and silk, some of which show precise technical repeats in both the warp and weft directions, indicating the emergence of new pattern recording techniques. These developments extended along the land route of the ‘Silk Road’, from the Roman Empire around the shores of the Mediterranean in the west, via the Middle East and Central Asia, through to China in the east.
In the last few years, new insights into these complex weaves have been emerging from scholars working independently in multiple locations, but to date, no overview of these processes has been attempted, despite strong evidence for trade and technology exchange along the Silk Road. Drawloom development culminated in the emergence of new loom designs in Europe, Central Asia and India, and China, some of which remained in use (in modified form) until the early part of the 20th century when they were replaced by Jacquard technology. These drawloom designs constitute the first fully digitally encoded representations of images (patterns), and in their day probably represented the most complex mechanical devices that had yet been created. They are key to understanding the emergence of complex technology, as well as understanding how new textile types were created, and how trade and contacts along the Silk Road facilitated technological change.