IELTS READING PRACTICE: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE TEXTILES OF HISTORY

IELTS READING PRACTICE: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE TEXTILES OF HISTORY
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A Journey through the Textiles of History (Hành trình lịch sử của Vải Dệt) Tracing the history of human society, one comes across a fascinating tapestry of textiles that reveal our innovative spirit and cultural evolution. Cotton, silk, wool, linen, leather, and hemp: these six materials have been instrumental in shaping civilizations, both Eastern and Western alike, over millennia. The creation and use of these textiles signify the subtle sophistication of our ancestors and underline our timeless pursuit of comfort, protection, and aesthetic expression. Cotton, a prevalent and versatile textile, has roots deep in history, stretching back to the 6th millennium BCE. Its initial discovery in the Neolithic sites of Mehrgarh in southwestern Pakistan ushered in a new era of fabric. Over the ages, from the Bronze Age Indus Valley civilization to the Ming dynasty in China and the Mughal Empire, cotton has seen widespread domestication and trade. Its breathability, durability, and adaptability have facilitated its use in numerous textile products, from everyday bathrobes and bedsheets to cultural garments like the shalwar kameez, signifying cotton's inherent connection with cultural identities and traditions. On the other end of the textile spectrum lies silk, a luxury fabric dating back over 5,000 years to the Yangshao culture of Neolithic China. Its smooth texture and lustrous appeal quickly made it a status symbol, reserved only for the nobility and dignitaries. Silk's high value turned it into a form of currency, facilitating barter along the Silk Road, underlining its role in early global commerce and cultural exchange. The textile narrative also weaves in the story of wool, harking back to the domestication of sheep in Mesopotamia between 11000 and 8000 BCE. This thick, insulating material has since been utilized to produce blankets, carpets, and clothing, with its trade playing a significant role in early economies. The iconic kaunakes, a woolen garment originating from the Sumerian civilization, attests to wool's historical and cultural significance. Among the pantheon of early textiles, linen, another product of ancient ingenuity, stands out for its luxury status. Earliest traces of this textile date back over 30,000 years, in the Dzudzuana Cave of the Caucasus. Throughout ancient Mesopotamia, linen's exclusivity and labor-intensive manufacturing process elevated it to be one of the most revered textiles. Today, its use extends to products like curtains, dresses, and even puppetry screens in traditional Indonesian performances, thus retaining its rich historical legacy. The narrative of human civilization would be incomplete without acknowledging leather, a timeless testament to mankind's innovative spirit. From footwear dating back 5,500 years found in an Armenian cave to its use in ancient Hindu scriptures, the versatility of leather has stood the test of time. Today, this durable and flexible material contributes to a plethora of products, from jackets and gloves to unique handcrafted items like India's Kolhapuri chappals. Completing the pantheon of historical textiles is hemp, one of the oldest cultivated fibre plants. As the primary fabric in China before cotton's introduction, hemp has served various uses, from making shoes and rope to clothing and even burial shrouds. Its durability and versatility are evident in the myriad of textile products it continues to inspire today, notably in traditional outfits crafted by the Hmong hill tribe in Thailand. In conclusion, the journey of these textiles - cotton, silk, wool, linen, leather, and hemp - across ages and civilizations underscores their intrinsic role in the unfolding of human history. Not merely as fabrics, but as potent symbols of societal progress, cultural identity, economic development, and artistic expression. This remarkable tapestry of textiles continues to evolve, influencing contemporary society in innumerable ways. The influence of textiles on business and finance has been profound, with their trade shaping and driving economies. From bartering with silk along the Silk Road to the present-day global cotton market, textiles have always been central to commerce. They have been catalysts for industrial revolutions, sparked innovation in production methods, and facilitated cross-border trade, leading to economic interdependence among nations. Notably, textiles have significantly shaped cultural identities and public relations. As materials change hands, they carry stories and cultural values with them, creating shared histories and promoting understanding among different societies. Cotton, in the form of shalwar kameez, communicates South Asian traditions, while the silk áo dài symbolizes Vietnamese heritage. Textiles also reflect social hierarchies and power structures; for instance, silk and linen once denoted high status due to their luxurious nature. Moreover, textiles are integral to human expression and creativity. The diverse aesthetics of textiles, from the simplicity of cotton to the elegance of silk, have always appealed to human artistic sensibilities. They provide a canvas for creativity, allowing for a wide array of designs, patterns, and techniques. Craftsmanship in textiles, as seen in India's Kolhapuri chappals or the shadow puppetry of Indonesia, is a testament to the vibrant cultural expressions textiles enable. Lastly, with sustainability becoming a pivotal concern in modern times, the importance of eco-friendly textiles like hemp is increasingly recognized. Their cultivation and processing require fewer resources and have lesser environmental impacts, thus contributing to sustainable development. In essence, the historical and ongoing journey of textiles presents a fascinating interplay of creativity, commerce, culture, and sustainability. The story of these textiles - cotton, silk, wool, linen, leather, and hemp - embodies the ceaseless human quest for progress, comfort, and expression. As we continue to weave the future, these materials remain a testament to our shared past and a key to our sustainable future. Thus, the tapestry of human civilization, interlaced with these vibrant threads of textiles, remains as intricate and inspiring as ever. ——————————- Từ vựng trong bài: Phrase: Instrumental in shaping: đóng vai trò quan trọng trong việc hình thành Meaning: Crucial in forming or influencing something. Example: The invention of the printing press was instrumental in shaping the Renaissance era. VD: Phát minh ra máy in là một yếu tố quan trọng trong việc hình thành thời kỳ Phục Hưng. Phrase: Status symbol: biểu tượng của địa vị Meaning: An object that signifies a person's social or economic standing. Example: In some societies, owning a large house or a luxury car is considered a status symbol. VD: Ở một số xã hội, sở hữu một ngôi nhà lớn hoặc một chiếc xe sang được coi là biểu tượng của địa vị. Phrase: Facilitating barter: tạo điều kiện thuận lợi cho việc giao dịch trao đổi hàng hóa dịch vụ mà không sử dụng tiền bạc. Meaning: Helping or making it easier to trade goods or services without exchanging money. Example: In primitive societies, the existence of diverse resources facilitated barter among different communities. VD: Ở các xã hội nguyên thủy, sự tồn tại của các nguồn tài nguyên đa dạng tạo điều kiện cho việc trao đổi hàng hóa với hàng hóa giữa các cộng đồng khác nhau. Phrase: Stood the test of time: vượt qua thử thách về thời gian Meaning: Proven to be successful, useful, or correct, for a very long period. Example: The teachings of Confucius have stood the test of time, remaining relevant even in modern society. VD: Những lời dạy của Khổng Tử đã vượt qua thử thách về thời gian, trong xã hội hiện đại vẫn còn phù hợp. Phrase: Intrinsic role: vai trò cốt lõi Meaning: An essential, inherent part or characteristic of something. Example: Education plays an intrinsic role in personal and societal development. VD: Giáo dục đóng vai trò cốt lõi trong việc phát triển cá nhân và xã hội Phrase: Potent symbols: biểu tượng mạnh mẽ Meaning: Powerful signs or representations. Example: National flags are potent symbols of a country's sovereignty and identity. VD: Quốc kỳ là biểu tượng mạnh mẽ của quyền lực và danh dự của một quốc gia. Phrase: Economic interdependence: sự phụ thuộc về kinh tế lẫn nhau Meaning: The mutual dependence at the economic level of countries on others for goods, resources, and knowledge. Example: Globalization has increased economic interdependence among countries. VD: Toàn cầu hóa làm tăng sự phụ thuộc vào kinh tế lẫn nhau giữa các quốc gia Phrase: Reflect social hierarchies: phản ánh các tầng lớp xã hội Meaning: Indicate or show the ranking of people in society. Example: In many historical societies, clothing styles would reflect social hierarchies. VD: Ở nhiều xã hội trong lịch sử, phong cách ăn mặc sẽ phản ánh các tầng lớp xã hội. Phrase: Pivotal concern: vấn đề then chốt Meaning: A critical or crucial issue or problem that is of great importance. Example: Climate change has become a pivotal concern for the global community. VD: Biến đổi khí hậu trở thành một vấn đề then chốt đối với cộng đồng toàn cầu. ———————————- Câu hỏi luyện tập: Question: What primarily made silk a valuable commodity in early societies? A. Its role in early global commerce B. Its smooth texture and lustrous appeal C. Its use as a form of currency D. Its status as a symbol of nobility Answer: C. Its use as a form of currency Giải thích: Mặc dù đáp án B và D là những mô tả chính xác về lụa, bài đọc chỉ ra rằng giá trị lớn của lụa là lí do tiên quyết khiến nó được sử dụng như một loại tiền tệ. Question: What is a common feature of the textiles cotton, leather, and hemp according to the passage? A. They all were used as a form of currency. B. They all served as status symbols. C. They all possess a level of versatility and durability. D. They all date back to Neolithic times. Answer: C. They all possess a level of versatility and durability. Giải thích: bài đọc nhắc tới đặc tính chung của các loại vải dệt như cotton, leather và hemp đều có chung đặc điểm là tính đa dụng (versatility) và độ bền (durability) Question: How have textiles influenced the structure of societies and their relationships with each other? A. They have sparked industrial revolutions and influenced economic interdependence. B. They have led to the creation of shared histories and cultural understanding. C. They have reflected social hierarchies and power structures. D. All of the above. Answer: D. All of the above. Giải thích: Bài đọc nói về việc vải dệt dẫn tới các cuộc cách mạng về công nghiệp và sự phụ thuộc kinh tế lẫn nhau (đoạn 9), tạo ra lịch sử chung và thúc đẩy hiểu biết văn hóa (đoạn 10), phản ánh giai cấp và cấu trúc quyền lực (đoạn 11)  Tất cả các đáp án đều chính xác —————————- Statement: Cotton has been used in a variety of textile products, including cultural garments such as the shalwar kameez. Answer: True Giải thích: Bài đọc nhắc tới trong đoạn 2: "Its breathability, durability, and adaptability have facilitated its use in numerous textile products, from everyday bathrobes and bedsheets to cultural garments like the shalwar kameez." (Độ thoáng khí, độ bền và tính linh hoạt đã tạo điều kiện cho việc dùng lụa làm áo choàng tắm và chăn ga hoặc các trang phục văn hóa như shalwar kameez) Statement: The trade of wool was insignificant to early economies. Answer: False Giải thích: trong đoạn 4 có câu: "This thick, insulating material has since been utilized to produce blankets, carpets, and clothing, with its trade playing a significant role in early economies." (Loại vật liệu dày, cách nhiệt này đã được dùng để sản xuất chăn, thảm và quần áo, tỏng đó việc buôn bán lụa đóng vai trò quan trọng trong các nền kinh tế thưở sơ khai) Statement: Hemp was the primary fabric in China even after the introduction of cotton. Answer: Not Given Giải thích: Trong đoạn 7, bài việc nhắc tới hemp (dây gai) là loại vải chính ở Trung Quốc trước khi cotton xuất hiện, nhưng nó không cung cấp thông tin liệu rằng hemp vẫn là loại vải chính sau khi cotton xuất hiện.