WILD SILKS OF INDIA: THE STORY
Updated: Dec 13, 2018
Wild Silks which are also referred as Vanya silks are produced by the wild silkworms that feed on various leaves in the open jungles. Thus, they imbibe the unevenness of nature in the fibre they produce which are distinguishing in look and feel. These silks portray the rich crafts, culture and folklore of the North Eastern and tribal zones of Central, eastern India and sub Himalayan region. The wild silks have unparalleled textures, with natural sheen, easy affinity for natural dyes, are light in weight and high in moisture absorbency, and with baffling thermal properties; warm in winter and cool in summer.
They are four different forms of key Vanya silks:
1. Eri Silk
2. Muga Silk
3. Tasar Silk
ERI SILK: ` Also known as endi or errandi, this silk is produced by the eri silkworm is a non-violent silk (Ahimsa Silk), since the worm is let out of the hole before the fibre is processed.
Due to this inherent process, continuous filament yarn cannot be drawn and yarn is spun instead. The colour of the eri cocoon varies based on the location. Elegantly designed eri shawls and chaddars are quite popular because of their thermal properties. They can be blended with cotton, wool, jute and other silks to create exotic fabrics for manufacturing apparel and home furnishings.
MUGA SILK: Muga is also referred to as ‘Golden Muga’ is known for its natural shimmering golden colour. Its production is confined to India in Assam, border areas of neighbouring North-eastern states and Cooch Bihar in West Bengal. Muga is the ‘King of Silks’ as it survives the vagaries of nature, and few surviving ones produce the fibre which is the most durable among silks and has golden texture. Due to this fibre quality,
Muga is the most expensive of silks, Muga has a glossy texture and is undyed to retain its natural colour and intrinsically woven into the cultural traditions of the people of Assam.Muga silk fabrics can be handwashed and glossiness improves after washes and the fibres are durable to last several generations.
TASAR SILK: India is the second largest producer of Tasar or Tussah silk and the exclusive producer of Indian tasar (also known as tropical tasar). In India, tasar silk is mainly produced in the states of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Orissa, besides Maharashtra, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
Tasar culture is the main stay for many tribal communities in India. In addition to making jackets, traditional salwar-kurta, and sarees, stoles and scarves are also produced using a tasar and blends with and other natural fibers like wool, cotton, etc. Tasar silk is ideal for making jackets for men and women or traditional costumes like the ‘salwar-kurta’.