Dhaka Muslins

Muslins of Dhaka were famous for centuries. Dr James Taylor published an exhaustive account of the muslin from Dhaka in 1851. He writes that skein of yarn which an local weaver measured before him proved to be 250 miles per one pound of cotton. A method to measure the fineness of these was to pass it through the ring worn by ladies. He writes that staples are shorter in comparison to the ones produced in America and hence were not suited for machine weaving, however, the Indian weavers produced the beautiful effect by hand weaving method. The Dhaka cotton expands on absorption of moisture and was used by Indian weaver while deciding the fineness of the product. Also in contrast to the European cotton which swell on bleaching, Indian staples shrank and become stronger on bleaching.

He further writes that figured or flowered muslins called “Jamdanis” are the best products of Bengal. These are literally work of cotton brocades, the pattern or flower being formed by spools Bengal carrying special threads of cotton, silk, or gold that are thrust by the hand within the warp, and are thus supplementary to the weft. It would take many pages to describe the chief designs met with ; it must suffice to say that they are strongly Persian in feeling and conception. The fabric is usually grey cotton, ornamented with blue-black designs, or occasionally with brightly coloured cottons, and gold or silver wire. When made in the form of saris the ends have large bold corner-pieces. Dacca is the most famous centre for jamdanis.
Coloured saris with brightly coloured (jamdani) flowers are produced at Santipur In Nadia District, and elsewhere in Bengal, and are sold extensively at Howrah; the coloured saris of Tippera also deserve mention.

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