Mulmul - The Romance and Revival of Muslin | Mulmul
Mulmul (pronounced muh-l muh-l as in mulberry)
Picture source : BBC, The model above is seen wearing a muslin |mulmul stole from the 19th century ( Credits : Drik/Bengal Muslin ).
Mulmul or Muslin is an ancient fabric that no one now knows how to make – Yes!!. Muslin | Mulmul today is passed off as same as any gauzy, lightweight and inexpensive machine-made cotton cloth. It has lost almost all connections to the glory it once held. Traditional fabrics had thread counts going up to 500, a feat that can simply not be achieved by modern looms.
A symbol of luxury and an ancient object of desire this uber fine cotton thread was hand woven from delicate hand-spun yarn. It considered the ultimate icon of opulence and was highly coveted by royalty
The fabric's characteristics are summed up in its name. Also known as Abrawan āb-i-ravān, that means flowing water, was a fine and transparent variety of fine muslin | mulmul.
Dhaka Muslin | Mulmul was a precious fabric indeed. Considered a great treasure of its age, this fabric was made via an elaborate 16 step process with a rare cotton that only grew along the Meghna river.
It travelled around the world via exports from India and it’s global patronage stretches back to thousands of years and deemed worthy of clothing statues of goddesses in ancient Greece, generations of Mughal Royalty and countless emperors from distant lands.
Coming back to Daaka Muslin | Mulmul it could be made from a certain type of cotton called the “Phooti Karpas” which grew along the river Brahmaputra only
Lately however, due to increased awareness by local activist bodies and an overall realization in the superiority of our produce, Muslin production has got a boost. Artisan families that had long abandoned the craft are being encouraged to resume the handcraft once again and gradually even younger weavers are getting involved. It is a progressive revival that is happening with new generation spinners applying educated decisions and informed strategies in the industry to bring about a revolution of sorts.
With the government providing grants and subsidies to the spinners and weavers, the onus is now on us to resurrect and make sure this art flourishes and that the age-old romance in delicate muslin weaves is not lost to machine-made substitutes.