wild silks
'Muga glory' of Assam. Photo Credit - fashionlady.in

A variety of silks are on display and for sale at the Silk Mark Expo on at Rena Event Hub at Kaloor in Kochi. The high point about the expo, which will be on till Wednesday, is that for the first time it will be showcasing wild silks from the Northeastern States.

A report which appeared in the The New Indian Express quoted Narayan Kutty, a Silk Mark official, as saying, “There are eight stalls from the Northeastern States. Muga silk from Assam is the most special one on sale at the expo. The silk has been GI tagged and is endemic to Assam.”

The report further quoted Silk Mark official from Assam, Mamta Sharma, as saying, “The silk is not dyed and retains its natural golden colour even after processing. Earlier, the cocoons used to be collected from the forests. However, once the demand increased, people began rearing silkworms.”

“The process is a very long and tedious one. Hence, the big price tag that the products command”, she said. “Every stage in the rearing process is done by separate groups. The first few stages of development of the worms happen in the wild. The worms feed on Som tree leaves and not mulberry.”

“Once they are ready to go into the cocoon stage the worms are collected and brought indoors,” she said. “Because of the long process involved, weaving a saree or stole takes a lot of time and only a few pieces can be produced at a time,” added Mamta.

According to her, the team from the North East could take part in the expo because the Union Finance Ministry allotted them funds. Apart from muga silk, the expo also displayed clothing made from eri, tassar and mulberry silk. “The material called jute silk is actually tassar silk. It has rough jute-like texture. Besides, we also have sarees made of ahimsa silk,” said Narayan Kutty. The prices of the products range from Rs 750 to Rs 18,000.

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