Tussar silk

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Tussore silk sarees from Phulia, India. Tussore Sarees - Phulia 2016-11-12 1891.JPG
Tussore silk sarees from Phulia, India.

Tussar silk (alternatively spelled as tussah, tushar, tassar, [1] tussore, tasar, tussur, tusser and also known as (Sanskrit) kosa silk) is produced from larvae of several species of silkworms belonging to the moth genus Antheraea , including A. assamensis , A. mylitta , A. paphia , A. pernyi , A. roylei and A. yamamai . These silkworms live in the wild forests in trees belonging to Terminalia species and Shorea robusta as well as other food plants like jamun and oak found in South Asia, eating the leaves of the trees they live on. [2] [3] Tussar silk is valued for its rich texture and natural deep gold colour, and varieties are produced in many countries, including China, [4] India, Japan, and Sri Lanka. [5]



In order to kill the silkworms, the cocoons are dried in the sun. A variation of the process exists in which the silkworms are allowed to leave before the cocoons are soaked in boiling water to soften the silk and then reeled. [2] [3] Single-shelled, oval-shaped cocoons are collected and then boiled to extract the silk yarn. Boiling is a very important part in the manufacturing of silk, as it softens the cocoon and makes the extraction of silk easier. In conventional sericulture, the cocoons are boiled with the larvae still inside; however, if the cocoons are boiled after the larvae have left them, the silk made is then called "non-violent silk" or "Ahimsa silk". In China, the silks are given different names when silkworms are reared on different plants, as the diet of the silkworms has an effect on the quality of the silk. For example, silk from larvae on the wild mulberry is called zhe, while those on the oak Quercus dentata produce hu. [4]

Tussar silk is considered more textured than cultivated Bombyx or "mulberry" silk, but it has shorter fibres, which makes it less durable. It has a dull gold sheen. [2] [3] As most of the cocoons are collected from the forest, it is considered by many as a forest product.

Production in India

Tussar sarees Tussore Sarees - Phulia 2016-11-12 1893.JPG
Tussar sarees

India is the second largest producer of tussar silk and the exclusive producer of Indian tussar (also known as tropical tussar), which is largely tended to by tribals. Much of it is produced in Bhagalpur (where it is called Bhagalpur silk), Bihar and Malda district of West Bengal. Tussar silk is also used for Orissa's pattachitras and West Bengal's kantha stitches. Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh also produce tussar silk. [2] [3] In recent years, the state of Jharkhand has emerged as the biggest producer of tussar silk. [6]

Bhagalpur silk

The tussar silk weaving industry in Bhagalpur, more than a century old, has about 30,000 handloom weavers working on some 25,000 handlooms. The total value of annual trade is around Rs. 100 crores, about half of which comes from exports. [7]


The saree is the most important tussar silk product [8] [9] although it is also used as the base material for handicrafts, furnishing fabrics, and stitched apparel. [2]

With the introduction of chemical dyes, the range of available colors has increased significantly. [2] There are fashion designers who use tussar silk in their creations. The precisely finished and designer garments produced from tussar silk are known globally and are exported worldwide.

Tussar silk is a popular additive to soap. The short silk fibers are typically dissolved in lye water, which is then added to oils to make soap. Soap made with Tussar silk has a "slippery" quality and is considered more luxurious-feeling than soap made without. Tussar silk roving can be bought at soapmaking supply stores. [10]

Related Research Articles

Silk Fine, lustrous, natural fiber produced by the larvae of various silk moths, especially the species Bombyx mori

Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The protein fiber of silk is composed mainly of fibroin and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons. The best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity (sericulture). The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fibre, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles, thus producing different colors.

Textile Material produced by twining, weaving, felting, knotting, or otherwise processing natural or synthetic fibers

A textile is a flexible material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibers. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, hemp, or other materials to produce long strands. Textiles are formed by weaving, knitting, crocheting, knotting, tatting, felting, or braiding.

<i>Bombyx mori</i> Polla

Bombyx mori, the domestic silkmoth, is an insect from the moth family Bombycidae. It is the closest relative of Bombyx mandarina, the wild silkmoth. The silkworm is the larva or caterpillar of a silkmoth. It is an economically important insect, being a primary producer of silk. A silkworm's preferred food is white mulberry leaves, though they may eat other mulberry species and even Osage orange. Domestic silkmoths are closely dependent on humans for reproduction, as a result of millennia of selective breeding. Wild silkmoths are different from their domestic cousins as they have not been selectively bred; they are thus not as commercially viable in the production of silk.

Sericulture process of silk production

Sericulture, or silk farming, is the cultivation of silkworms to produce silk. Although there are several commercial species of silkworms, Bombyx mori is the most widely used and intensively studied silkworm. Silk was believed to have first been produced in China as early as the Neolithic Period. Sericulture has become an important cottage industry in countries such as Brazil, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, and Russia. Today, China and India are the two main producers, with more than 60% of the world's annual production.

Leizu, also known as Xi Ling-shi, was a legendary Chinese empress and wife of the Yellow Emperor. According to tradition, she discovered sericulture, and invented the silk loom, in the 27th century BC.

Mysore silk

Karnataka produces 9,000 metric tons of mulberry silk of a total of 20,000 metric tons of mulberry silk produced in the country, thus contributing to nearly 45% of the country's total mulberry silk. In Karnataka, silk is mainly produced in the Mysore district. It is a patent registered product under KSIC. KSIC is an owner of the Mysore Silk brand.

Rajshahi silk textiles produced in Rajshahi, Bangladesh, from various silk fibres

Rajshahi silk is the name given to the silk products produced in Rajshahi, Bangladesh. It is famous because it is a high quality fabric used for clothing, especially for saris.

Assam silk denotes the three major types of indigenous wild silks produced in Assam—golden muga, white pat and warm eri silk. The Assam silk industry, now centered in Sualkuchi, is a labor-intensive industry.

Thai silk silk textile from Thailand

Thai silk is produced from the cocoons of Thai silkworms. Thailand's silkworm farmers cultivate both types of the domesticated silkworms that produce commercial silk: Samia ricini, commonly known as the eri silkworm, which produces matte eri silk, and the Bombyx mori, producer of the better known, glossy mulberry silk. The latter is by far the larger silk producer of the two.

Silk industry in China

China is the world's largest silk producer. The vast majority of Chinese silk originates from the mulberry silkworms. During the larval stage of its life-cycle, the insects feeds on the leaves of mulberry trees. Non-mulberry silkworms cocoon production in China primarily focuses on wild silk from the Chinese Tussah moth. This moth typically feeds on trees and its larvae spin coarser, flatter, yellower filament than the mulberry silk moths.

Wild silk coarse, strong silk fibre from various species of Asian moth silkworms

Wild silks have been known and used in many countries from early times, although the scale of production is far smaller than that from cultivated silkworms. Silk cocoons and nests often resemble paper or cloth, and their use has arisen independently in many societies.

Bhagalpuri silk or Tussar silk is a dying style of silk sarees and other clothes from Bhagalpur, Bihar in India. This material is used for making sarees named as Bhagalpuri Sari. Bhagalpur is also known as “silk city” of India. Bhagalpur has numerous mulberry orchards to produce tussar silk. Nathnagar is a place where Bhagalpuri silk is mainly processed. Not only sari kurta suit is also made from Bhagalpuri silk.

Baluchar Sari or Baluchuri Sari is a type of sari, a garment worn by women across India and Bangladesh. This particular type of sari originated in Bengal and is known for depictions of mythological scenes on the pallu of the sari. It was mainly produced in Murshidabad but presently Bishnupur and its surrounding places of West Bengal is the only place where authentic Baluchuri saris are produced. It takes approximately one week to produce one such sari. The Baluchari Sari has been granted the status of geographical indication in India.

Bhagalpur Sari is an silk sari made in Bhagalpur, India. More than a century old, Tussar silk weaving industry in Bhagalpur has about 30,000 handloom weavers working on some 25,000 handlooms. The total value of annual trade is around Rs. 100 crores, about half of which comes from exports.

Pat silk silk from the cocoons of domesticated Bombyx mori from Assam, India

Pat silk or Mulberry silk of Assam is a variety of domestic silk in Assam, India. It is usually brilliant white or off-white in colour. Its cloth can dry in shadow. The larvae of the Pat Silkworm's preferred food is nuni leaves. The silk has a natural white tint and is known for its durability and glossy texture. Pat silk, like other Assam silks, is used in products like mekhelas, chadars and other textiles.

Handloom saree saree woven by hand-operated loom

Handloom sarees are a traditional textile art of Bangladesh and India. The production of handloom sarees are important for economic development in rural India. Completion of a single saree takes two to three days of work. Several regions have their own traditions of handloom sarees.

Muga silk variety of wild silk from the cocoons of Antheraea Assama

Muga silk is a variety of wild silk geographically tagged to the state of Assam in India. The silk is known for its extreme durability and has a natural yellowish-golden tint with a shimmering, glossy texture. It was previously reserved for the use of royalty.

Dharmavaram handloom pattu sarees and paavadas

Dharmavaram handloom pattu sarees and paavadas are textiles woven by hand with mulberry silk and zari. They are made in Dharmavaram of Anantapur district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It was registered as one of the geographical indication from Andhra Pradesh by Geographical Indications of Goods Act, 1999.

Kotpad Handloom is a vegetable-dyed fabric woven by the tribal weavers of the Mirgan community of Kotpad village in Koraput district, Odisha, India. Cotton sarees with solid border and Pata Anchal, duppatta with typical Buties / motifs, Scolrfs on cotton, silk, handloom stoles, and dress materials are all dyed with organic dyes. The natural dye is manufactured from the aul tree grown in this area. The Kotpad tussar silk saree with tribal art and Kotpad handloom fabrics with natural color is its specialty.

<i>Antheraea mylitta</i> species of insect

Antheraea mylitta is a species of moth in the family Saturniidae known commonly as the tasar silkworm and vanya silkworm. It is actually one of a number of tasar silkworms, species that produce Tussar silk, a kind of wild silk that is made from the products of saturniid silkworms instead of the domesticated silkworm. This species is native to India.


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