LONDON - An astonishing golden outfit made from the silk of spiders goes on display at London's Victoria and Albert Museum on Wednesday, the largest example of the material in the world.
The four-meter-long (13-feet-long) hand-woven textile, a natural vivid gold colour, was made from the silk of more than one million female Golden Orb spiders collected in the highlands of Madagascar by 80 people over five years.
It was made by Englishman Simon Peers and American Nicholas Godley, both of whom have lived and worked in Madagascar for many years, and inspired by 19th century illustrations detailing the largely forgotten art.
The last known spider silk textile was created for the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900, but no examples remain.
The spiders are collected each morning and harnessed in special contraptions which allow handlers to extract their silk, 24 spiders at a time. At the end of the day, the spiders are returned to the wild.
The process is extremely laborious -- on average, 23,000 spiders are needed to create about one ounce (28 grams) of silk, according to the V&A.
The textile is on show at the museum from January 25 to June 5.
Image: Adrian Dennis / via AFP