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The Dhaka Muslin

By Zaria Gorvett 17th March 2021 BBC THE LOST INDEX | INDIA

In late 18th-Century Europe, a new fashion led to an international scandal. In fact, an entire social class was accused of appearing in public naked.

A model wearing a muslin stole from the 19th century (Credit: Drik/ Bengal Muslin)

(Image credit: Drik/ Bengal Muslin)

The culprit was Dhaka muslin, a precious fabric imported from the city of the same name in what is now Bangladesh, then in Bengal.

It was not like the muslin of today. Made via an elaborate, 16-step process with rare cotton that only grew along the banks of the holy Meghna river, the cloth was considered one of the great treasures of the age.

It had truly global patronage, stretching back thousands of years – deemed worthy of clothing statues of goddesses in ancient Greece, countless emperors from distant lands, and generations of local Mughal royalty.

Dhaka muslin was also more than a little transparent.

Still, Dhaka muslin was a hit – with those who could afford it. It was the most expensive fabric of the era, with a retinue of dedicated fans that included the French queen Marie Antoinette, the French empress Joséphine Bonaparte and Jane Austen. But as quickly as this wonder-cloth struck Enlightenment Europe, it vanished.

Many of the skills needed to make Dhaka muslin have been lost which makes matching the quality of the fabric a challenge

You may read the whole article here The ancient fabric that no one knows how to make

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