Mulmul - The history and origins of Mulmul | Muslin
The History of Muslin | Mulmul
Mulmul | Muslin a words often used interchangeably was a form of cotton which was so fine that even if one wore seven layers of it, it would still be see through. It could pass through a ring and could be packed into a matchbox
Colin Thubron in his book further wrote, “An Arab merchant in the ninth century was astonished to observe the mole on an imperial eunuch’s chest through five layers of gossamer silk.” The name of this Arab merchant was Suleiman. He wrote in his book, Silsiltu-T Tawarikh, about the (Dhaka) muslin, not about silk, that, “There is a stuff made in his country which is not to be found elsewhere; so fine and delicate is this material that a dress made of it may be passed through a signet-ring. It is made of cotton, and we have seen a piece of it.” (Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, vol.1,London,1867,p.-5.).
The word “Muslin” as claimed by Marco Polo finds its origins in a place called Mosul in Iraq. Muslin thus it is claimed was derived from the word Mosul. (The Bengali term is mul mul or mol mol.)
There are also claims that Indian cotton fabric used to be sold in Greece as early as 200 BC. (Jotindramohon Roy, Dhakar Itihash, p.113). Muslin also finds a mention in the book, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, written in Greek during the mid-1st century CE by an unknown writer.
Mulmul | Muslin also finds its origins from the time of Ptolemy, the Pharoh of Ptolemaic Egypt ( 304/305 BC – 282 BC), one of the earliest queens to have adorned Muslin | Mulmul was none other than Cleopatra.
In his book ArthaShastra the political Treatise, Kautiliya ( 350 – 275 BCE), the chief advisor to Emperor Chandragupta, mentioned about the fame of the textile industry of Banga ( Eastern Bangladesh ) and Pundranagra ( Mahasthangarh in north Bangladesh). It is said that the fabric being mentioned by him was Mulmul | Muslin.
There are also claims that Mulmul| Muslin originated in Bangladesh, that Muslin | Mulmul existed since 700 B.C., produced by local craftsmen in Bangladesh and it was the finest fabric ever produced in the world which attained fame as Dhaka Muslin.
A more modern view is that of fashion historian Susan Greene, who wrote that the name arose in the 18th century from mousse, the French word for “foam.”
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The origins of Muslin | Mulmul are thus in question still however the fact remains that Dhaka in Bangladesh was one of the main centers where Mulmul | Muslin was manufactured till late.