With its unique texture, rich sheen, and natural charm, the Tussar silk has become an integral part of Indian textile heritage. Tussar silk (sometimes spelt tassar or tussore), is known for its unique texture and distinct appearance. Unlike other silk fabrics, Tussar silk is not smooth, but has a coarse texture that gives it an intriguing character.
The northern regions of India, particularly Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal, are the primary producers of this exquisite silk, but the process of creating it is arduous. It involves the delicate art of rearing silkworms, spinning silk, dyeing it with finesse, and weaving it into fabric. The resulting fabric is breathable, lightweight, and comfortable to wear, making it a popular choice for summer clothing.
In the following paragraphs, we will explore the key aspects of Tussar silk, including its history, cultural significance, and its contemporary usage.
The Origins of Tussar Silk
One of the defining characteristics of Tussar silk is its raw material and production process.
As mentioned above, Tussar silks are nurtured and harvested in six cities nestled within the lush Tussar belt of India: Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam. Its production entails the nurturing of specific silkworms that feed on leaves of the Asan, Sal and Arjun trees and this is what gives the Tussar silk its intriguing sheen.
In addition to the silkworms’ unique diet, the captivating colours of Tussar silk are also influenced by the weather conditions, resulting in a splendid spectrum of natural shades ranging from creamy whites to alluring shades of brown in between. Due to its wild cultivation, Tussar silk is slightly coarser than the soft and silky mulberry silk, and this is why it’s also known by the moniker Wild Silk.
Historians state that the British East India Company was introduced to the Tussar silk insect in 1657, which led to the exhibition of these textiles at the Paris Exhibition of 1878. This further spurred its subsequent trade across England, France, and other countries worldwide. This is how Tussar silk gained prominence in European fashion trends and production in the mid-17th century, and it has been used to create various European textiles, such as printed silk curtains, furniture coverings, wall damasks, and clothing ever since!
Despite its global adoption, one of the most significant characteristics of Tussar silk is its ability to reflect the cultural diversity of India. It is available in a wide range of colours and designs, each representing the unique art and culture of different regions. From the earthy tones of Bihar to the vibrant hues of West Bengal, Tussar silk can capture the essence of any place with ease.
Characteristics of Tussar Silk
The unbleached, dull gold shine of Tussar silk is a perfect base for printing, painting, or embellishing saris, making them the perfect attire for any special occasion. The fabric is available in a wide range of distinctive colours and designs, with each region producing its unique patterns and motifs.
Varieties of Tussar Silk & Its Foray Into Fashion
Tussar silk comes in several varieties, depending on the geographical region it is produced. Different types of Tussar silk are known for their unique features and characteristics, ranging from the smooth texture of Jharkhand Tussar to the coarser weave of Orissa Tussar.
Despite its traditional origins, Tussar silk has continued to maintain its appeal in the modern fashion industry. The silk has stood the test of time, and its distinctive texture and feel make it a fashionable fabric for all age groups. Designers have also experimented with different printing techniques, embellishments, and colour palettes, resulting in a wide range of Tussar silk sarees, dresses, and accessories.
In Indian culture, Tussar silk holds a special place as a fabric that is worn during festivals and auspicious occasions. It is considered a symbol of social status and prestige, and its use in ceremonies and rituals is believed to bring good fortune. The fabric is often adorned with intricate embroidery, zari work, and motifs inspired by nature, mythology, and history.
Tussar silk is truly a remarkable fabric that embodies the richness and diversity of Indian culture. Its unique texture, feel, and versatility have made it a favourite among fashion enthusiasts and cultural enthusiasts alike, and its continued popularity has contributed to the preservation and promotion of traditional weaving techniques.
At our boutique, we understand the significance of these exquisite pieces of clothing, and we take great pride in offering our customers a carefully curated selection of the finest silk sarees available. Our collection ranges from traditional Kanjivarams to contemporary designs, all of which have been handpicked to ensure that our customers receive only the finest quality. Our boutique offers an environment that exudes warmth and hospitality, ensuring that your shopping experience is both comfortable and enjoyable.