Today’s “Muslin”

Today’s “Muslin”
Whilst the Bengal muslin industry was gradually eroded by the policies of the East India Company, causing it to all but die out by the end of the 19th century; Jamdani remains as the sole existing heir of this industry. As the industry was failing, small groups of muslin weavers in Dhaka refused to let the tradition die out completely. With time, the yarn became slightly coarser, and the embroidered designs became simpler, but these products retained their historic charm, and continued to be coveted by the upper echelons of society, especially in the Hindu community. Especially the 1960s saw a revival of this style of loom-embroidered Jamdani muslin, this time also under the patronage of a few enthusiastic clothing companies.

This contemporary revival has continued, and Jamdani is easily available to this day. In this sense, it can be considered the surviving heir of the historic muslin industry. The Jamdanis of the late 20th Century however, were no longer 100% cotton, but rather half-silk. Whilst these half-silk and indeed occasionally 100% silk Jamdanis were very beautiful and intricate, they were of course not as durable as the traditional cotton ones. As a result, in recent years there has been a revival of cotton Jamdani too, with weavers returning to the fine craftsmanship of the intricate cotton cloth. Furthermore, Jamdani has become popular as a dressmaking fabric, making its way into the contemporary fashion styles of young Bengali women.