Wild and Wonderful Silks

 

Silkworms and bees share the distinction of being the only domesticated insects in the world. Sericulture, or the breeding of silkworms for the production of raw silk, has been going on for over five thousand years. However, there are some—the late Mahatma Ghandi included—who disapprove of sericulture because in order to harvest the cocoon silk unbroken it is necessary to kill the larvae. For those who disapprove of sericulture, or those simply looking for a new fiber to try, there is wild silk. Also known as Ahimsa silk, Muga silk, Assam silk, Tussah silk, peace silk, and a variety of other names, wild silk cocoons are collected after the adult moth has emerged from the cocoon.


Muga Silkworms


Wild silk has a different, coarser, texture than domesticated silks and is notoriously difficult to dye. However, wild silk comes in a wide array of beautiful natural colors, most notably the golden silks produced by the
muga silkworm of Assam.

For six hundred years, muga silk was so highly prized it was reserved for the royalty of Assam. Not only is the color extraordinary, it grows more vibrant as the cloth is used and washed, and it is naturally stain resistant and highly durable.  

 

 

 

 

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