We all love silk, shiny, soft, fine and smooth. India has several native silk-moths and many fine silk cloths are woven from the yarns those silk-moths create. These silk moths are found in numerous parts of India especially in the part of Assam and Orissa. The variety and different types of silks found in India may amaze to many people and to surprise you even more, the Muga silk produced only in Assam has received the immense popularity and is one the most expensive type of skill. As per the records, in all over the world, Assam is the largest maker of Muga silk.
Origin and History behind golden silk
Muga silk, is one of the unusual and rarest kind of silk produced only in Assam. It is produced from the semi-domesticated and unique silk worm named Muga worm or Antheraea assamensis. The origin of this Muga silkworm goes back to the era of dinosaurs and it is native to Assam. It is very sensitive and cannot bear even the most negligible amount of pollution. These larvae feed on som and sualu leaves. The silk produced from Muga worm is known for its durability and shiny fine texture. The material is superior in every aspect as compared to the regular white silk which is available in all over the world.
The word `Muga’ which exactly means yellowish and the most significant and unique feature of Muga silk is its total bright golden colour. This bright golden colour and shine give a unique and best look to Muga silk. Another unique quality of this silk is that it shines even brighter after every wash. This is the thing that makes Muga silk as one of the most expensive silk in the world. It is a nature’s most precious gift to Assam and is pride of the state. It also helps to show the rich and precious culture of Assam.
The weaving and cultivation of Muga Silk is an ancient industry in Assam without an exact period of origin but the time between 1228 to 1828 is the time when Muga silk received golden patronage. This period of between 1228 to 1828 when Ahom dynasty was ruling the Assam and supported and initiated the Muga Silk as an industry. The Muga fabric was even the main export during Ahoms and even used in the royal store for the display of the visitors.
In 2007 Muga silk was given the tag as Geographical Indication (GI) which is valid for ten years and for the authenticity of production and quality control, the Muga silk products are also registered for Assam Science Technology and Environment Council.
Some special qualities of Muga Silk
- The unique bright golden colour and glow of the fabric.
- It is durable, strong and natural elastic fiber
- It shines brighter after every wash and hence is one of the most expensive type of silk
- Though the base colour remains common in all, it can be made more colourful by using colourful thread and embroidery work which makes the product even more attractive.
Uses in Daily Life
- The Muga silk is used not only for traditional garments but also for modern dresses such as kurtis, tops, shirts, sarees, skirts, shawls, etc.
- It is also used in home furnishings and decor products.
It is said that, for a Assamese woman, Mulg silk saree or Muga mekhela chaddar (traditional assamese woman dress) is the most valued and expensive thing. So, if you want to win the heart of an Assamese woman, gift her a Muga silk saree or dress.
Photo by SdosRemedios