The art of weaving silk come to this region from china around 3000 – 2000 BC. The oldest reference of Muga silk was found in Valmiki Ramayana and as well as Kautilya. It is said that king bhaskarvarman of Kamarupa fought against Pandavas wearing Muga silk turban. Ahom kings patronize Muga silk production.
This Golden silk is originated from the state of Assam, India. It is produced from the larva Antheraea assame Helfer is also known as ‘Muga’ in the local language. It is the only larva in the world that produces distinct golden color shiny silk. Muga silkworm mainly breeds at Bramhaputra valley of Assam and foothill of Garo hills from Meghalaya. Muga silkworm eats a leaf from Som (Persea bombycina), and Soalu (Litsaea polyantha Juss) plants.most of the Muga silkworm grows outside at the host plant. Environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity play an essential role in the growth of worm. Also attacked by insects, birds, bats, owl, and monkeys results in fewer silkworm complete its cocoon cycle,.
almost 98% of Muga silk production occurs in Assam. other 2% comes from West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland.
How Muga silk is made
The female moth lays 150- 200 eggs around 2 to 3 days on kharikas.This kharikas(stick) place vertical on a hanging platform for three to 4 days. After 8 to 10 days, baby larvae came out from eggs.
These baby larvae are then left on to Som or Soalu trees for feeding. The trunk of the tree-covered with banana leaves to prevent worms from coming down from the tree.
Once larvae finish eating the leaves of the tree, they will transfer to another tree for feeding; this process continues till 20 to 40 days, which depends upon the maturation of the caterpillar. ;
As Muga silkworm rear outside at maturation worm, stop eating leaves and become easy prey to predators. Sign of Mature larvae is they start excreting semi-liquid feces from the body. The body of a ripe Muga silkworm shrinks and becomes limp and translucent. These larvae collected at night time and put them in close pack partially dried leaves to spinning cocoon. After 10 days, Muga silk cocoon is ready to harvest.
Colors of golden silk
Colors used to dye Muga silk are natural colors. These Colors are extracted from pomegranate skin, majishtha, jackfruit skin, china rose.
Saree of Assam
Muga silk saree is traditionally weaved on a handloom In Assam, every festival and wedding celebrated with wearing Muga silk cloth. Famous Bihu dance of Assam can not accomplish without wearing Muga silk cloth. In Assam, women wear Mekhla chador though it looks like saree, it is totally different from saree we know. The Mekhla is a lower-body part garment, and chador is an upper-body part garment