Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858

6. Bewegliche Hinterlassenschaften

1. The textile manufactures and the costumes of the people of India <Auszüge> / by John Forbes Watson (1866)

von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Watson, J. Forbes (John Forbes) <1827-1892>: The textile manufactures and the costumes of the people of India <Auszüge> / by John Forbes Watson (1866). -- (Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858 / Alois Payer ; 6. Bewegliche Hinterlassenschaften, 1.). --Fassung vom 2008-03-27. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen061.htm            

Erstmals publiziert als:

Watson, J. Forbes (John Forbes) <1827-1892>: The textile manufactures and the costumes of the people of India.  -- London : India Office, 1866. -- xxi, 173 S. : Ill. ; 39 cm. -- Online: http://www.archive.org/details/textilemanufactu00watsrich. -- Zugriff am 2008-03-36. -- "Not in copyright"

Erstmals hier veröffentlicht: 2008-03-27


Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung FS 2008

©opyright: Public domain

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Sanskrit  von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

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0. Contents


[S. 13] In describing the various articles of male attire in this group, we shall not start with those fulfilling the purpose for which clothing was probably first adopted, but rather begin with those which have to do with the protection and adornment of the head. After these we shall proceed with the description of those articles in the scarf form which are employed to envelope the shoulders and upper portions of the body ; next, those which are used as a covering to the loins and lower extremities ; and, lastly, those which are employed simply to encircle the waist.


The Turban is in almost universal use throughout India. As its chief function is the protection of the head from the heat of the sun, it is usually of a fine muslin-like texture which, when folded, is at once light, bulky, and porous thus admirably fulfilling its main purpose.

Of the materials employed in the manufacture of turbans, cotton occupies the first place. Besides being the cheapest and most abundant, it has the merit of being a good non-conductor and of permitting at the same time the free escape of perspiration. It is farther recommended by the fact that it admits of the ready introduction of other materials for the purposes of adornment.

Silk, however, is used to some extent by the higher classes; several places (like Seringapatam in olden times) being famous for the manufacture of silk turbans. Wool is not often used in the manufacture of turban pieces ; when it is used, they are generally in the form of small shawls, those of embroidered Cashmere cloth being good illustrations.

The tribe or caste to which the wearer belongs frequently determines the size and shape of the turban, and there are numerous varieties which take special names from their forms or from the materials of which they are made.1

1 The following are some of the names by which the Turban, or Pugri, is known :

[S. 14] In the mode of folding and wearing the turban an opportunity is often taken for the display of style and taste.

Plate I.

Plate II.

The Costume illustrations which accompany this work show the multitude of forms which the turban may be made to assume by a little ingenuity in the mode of folding or making up. Although the subject in Plate I. opposite and Plate II. facing p. 18 have been specially chosen to illustrate this, most of the male figures in Plates III. IV. VII. and VIII. also afford illustrations.

Among these will be found turbans ranging from the neat compact head-dress which adorns the Mussulman in figure 2 of Plate I, to the wisp of calico which envelopes the head of the last figure of Plate VIII. facing p. 118; while in figure 50, Plate VII. facing p. 140, the turban piece not only envelopes the head but leaves enough to pass across the chest and over the shoulder.

With regard to the colours employed and the principles observed in the ornamentation of turbans, a few words may be said before proceeding more specifically to indicate their characteristics.

Turbans are to be found in India presenting every colour and hue in the rainbow, but white naturally takes by far the most prominent position. Red comes next, then yellow, and after them green, blue, purple, and, occasionally, even black ; the darker colours being almost invariably relieved by embroidery.

Among turbans made of silk, we find buffs, shots, and greys ; and in those made of cotton, printing is frequently employed to produce patterns suited to the tastes of particular consumers.

As regards what may be called the special ornamentation of fabrics designed for making up into turbans its peculiarity one founded upon true art as well as economy is that the decoration is, as much as possible, confined to those portions of the material which in wear are exposed to view. The introduction of ornamentation, in undue proportion, would not only involve an unnecessary consumption of comparatively expensive materials, but would actually interfere with the function which the turban is intended to fulfil. The native artist thus affords evidence of skill in avoiding an infringement of what maybe called a first principle in art.

Nor is this confined to native work as it is seen in what we are presently speaking of, for the same compliment may be broadly paid to the productions of the Indian artisan, who is always careful to avoid a useless or wasteful ornamentation, and who never allows himself to forget the purpose which the article he is adorning is designed to fulfil. But it is not in these respects alone that the excellency of the native artisan is to be seen. He continually displays an admirable skill in the arrangement of form and colour producing those beautiful and harmonious combinations which are to the eye what chords in music are to the ear. The subdued elegance which characterizes Indian decoration never fails to please. It marks a pure and refined taste, and whether it be the result of cultivation or of instinct it certainly exhibits a charming obedience to the great principles of art.

The turban in its unfolded condition ordinarily consists of a strip of cloth varying in breadth from 9 to 12 inches, and in length from 15 to 25 yards. In some cases, however, the breadth extends to 36 inches, while the length occasionally reaches to 60 yards.

In the process of making up, the outer end is usually left free to hang down a little, or is turned up over the folds at the back when the tying is finished. In the simpler and more common forms, coloured thread is introduced into this free end as an ornament, [S. 15]

while in others gold in stripes, varying in breadth from one-eighth of an inch to several inches, is introduced.

Sometimes the gold, or other decorative medium, in addition to running across the end is made to extend longitudinally a little way up from the end, so as to be seen on the side of one or two of the last folds of the turban. In some instances, again, the embellishment is carried so far up that all the outer folds of the turban present it to view. In Pl. II. the standing figure in the group represents the first of these styles ; the sitting figure to the left in the same group the second ; while the turban on figure 10 shows the more copious ornamentation last alluded to.

For the assistance of those who may wish more precise information regarding this class of manufacture, we shall now refer in detail to the working samples shown in the volumes to which allusion has been made.

The turbans are divisible into two groups, consisting of long and square turban pieces. In describing these, a classification founded upon the quality of the material and the style of ornamentation will be adopted.

1.2. LOONGEES [লুঙ্গি] AND DHOTEES [धोटी].

[S. 21] Before the introduction of the art of sewing, the dress of the male Hindu, in addition to the head-cloth, consisted of two scarf-formed pieces, one of which was worn over the shoulders and upper part of the body, and the other was used as covering for the loins and legs. The first of these is called a Loongee1 and the second a Dhotee.2

1 This term has come to be generally applied to the shoulder or upper cloth worn by males. The majority of the specimens forwarded from India, and inserted in the Fabric Books, were so designated, and although not precisely correct, this name (Loongee) is here adopted as affording, for trade purposes, a convenient distinction between shoulder and loin cloths. Strictly speaking, the Loongee is worn by Mahomedans, and has the same function as the Dhotee of the Hindu.

2 Dhotee; derived from dhona, to wash, and so named from being washed daily at the time of bathing. Every Dhotee, however, has not this daily washing, for in its more elaborate form it is embellished with ornamental borders, and, by the rich as well as the poor, on festival occasions, is doffed after the ablutions for the day have been finished.

Plate III.

Plate IV.

At the present time the usual dress of the poorer classes of Mahomedans and Hindus, whilst at home or at work, consists simply of the piece of cloth called a Dhotee wrapped round the loins. The end of this, after a couple of turns round the waist, is passed by the Hindu between the legs, and thrust under the folds which cross behind. Occasionally, however, the end is passed from behind and fastened in front. Amongst the Mahomedans again, the loin-cloth, after being folded two or three times round the waist, is usually allowed to hang down : that is, it is not tucked up between the legs as with the Hindus.The standing figure in group 4, Pl. I., and other figures in Plates III. and IV., afford illustrations of the manner in which this article of dress is worn. The simpler form consists of a small piece of calico,3 with its ends turned over a string tied round the haunches, while the more elaborate forms are nearly as copious as a woman's petticoat. Figures 22 and 23, Pl. IV., show this.

3 Langgoti is the name used when the Dholee is very small. (Buchanan, in Martin's "Eastern India," Vol. III., p. 103.)

Although piece-goods of a suitable breadth are largely cut up into dhotees, as well as into shoulder-scarfs, it is to the Loongee and Dhotee manufactured of the proper length and width, that is, in separate pieces, that we have here more particularly to refer.

The first class of articles, viz. the Loongees, or scarfs, for wearing over the body and shoulders, are of the more importance, because they afford greater scope for the introduction of those decorations which we have seen to be so successfully employed in turbans.

[S. 22] As we proceed it will be observed that these scarfs are frequently manufactured in pairs,1 with a fag between for convenience of separation ; the longer portion being used to wrap round the upper part of the body, and the shorter piece round the loins, as already described.

1 A cloth of this sort, of which two pieces form a dress, is called Jore, from Jora, a pair.

The Loongee is worn over the shoulder in a variety of ways. Plates III. and IV., and more particularly the latter, show some of these.

It will be observed, also, that most of the male figures represented in Plates I and III. have a cloth of some sort thrown over the shoulder, ready to be adjusted as circumstances may require. The same cloth, when of plain material, acts not only as a plaid during the day, but as a sheet at night.2

2 The calico sheet called Dohar is in the cold weather doubled and worn over the shoulders. (Buchanan, in Martin's " Eastern India.")

These scarfs vary in length from 3 to 6 yards, and in breadth from 1 or 1½ to 3 yards ; two breadths being often joined to form a wider garment.3

3 A scarf consisting of two such pieces or breadths stitched together, is called Doputta (literally two breadths) ; the single piece, or width, Ecputta (one breadth) is also used without being joined ; but those who can afford it prefer the more ample garment supplied by the Doputta.

The materials (cotton, silk, and sometimes wool, or combinations of these) of which the Loongees and Dhotees are made, are fully illustrated by the examples, upwards of ninety in number, to be seen in the Textile Work itself.4

4 Silk and wool loin cloths, or combinations of both, are called Pitambur, and are worn by Brahmins and other high class Hindus exclusively at meal times, when cotton garments of any kind are impure. At meals the Brahmin or other strict Hindu ought to wear no other garment than a Pitambur, the head and body to the waist being uncovered.

The remark made under the head of Turbans, as to the character of the special ornamentation adopted, applies equally to the loom-made garment pieces presently to be described ; the principle, as already stated, being to employ the decoration in the manner best calculated to set off the articles when in wear. For this purpose, not only are the ends ornamented, but the borders also, as may be seen in the scarfs over the shoulders of the figures in Pl. IV. In the case of these men's scarfs, the two ends as well as the borders receive the same amount of ornamentation because both are seen when in use. As in the case of turbans, however, we find that the scarfs worn by women have only one ornamented end, the opposite one being usually concealed in the process of folding round the person.

The introduction of special borders and ends into the parts not seen would not only be wasteful, and therefore objectionable, but from the character of the materials employed, it would increase the thickness of the fabric in a way which would interfere with the comfort of the wearer.

We now proceed to afford specific information regarding this class of native manufacture.

An arrangement similar to that adopted in the case of turbans will be followed; that is, we shall speak of them according to quality and character of ornamentation, beginning with the inferior and proceeding upwards to the more elaborate specimens.


[S. 38] The Kummerbund1 literally, waist-band or sash, as a loom-made article of male attire, has next to be considered.

It is chiefly used by the Mahomedans, the manner in which the dhotee is worn by the Hindus rendering it less necessary in their case. Both Hindus and Mahomedans, of the richer classes, however, when in full dress almost invariably use it.

When used, as it often is, for effect, it is narrow ; sometimes, however, it is of considerable width and bulk. Figures 55 and 57, Pl. VIII., illustrate the manner in which it is worn.

In Northern India these sashes are almost always made of wool and are of different degrees of fineness. Muslin textures, however, are used elsewhere. Ornamentation, when adopted, is confined to the ends, into which coloured threads of various kinds, and occasionally gold, are introduced.

1 Like most Indian terms, which have passed into use as English, this word is spelt in a variety of ways, as Kumerbund, Kamarband, Cummerbund, &c.


2.1. SAREES [साड़ी].

[S. 39] The chief article of female attire in India consists of a long scarf, called a Saree, which both envelopes the body and acts as a covering to the head. It is the common dress of the Hindu women of all ranks, as well as that of a large proportion of Mahomedans. By the Hindus of the northern provinces of India it is occasionally worn along with the petticoat of the Mahomedan. This combination, however, is rare, and, indeed, amongst the poorer classes, especially during the hot weather, the Saree is the only article of dress employed.

Plate V.

Plate VI.

The mode of wearing the Saree is very much the same all over India, although, of course, the amplitude of its folds, and the quality of the material used, vary with the social position of the women.

As usually worn, one end is passed twice round the waist, the upper border tied in a strong knot, and allowed to fall in graceful folds to the ankle, thus forming a sort of petticoat or skirt a portion of one leg being only partially concealed by the Hindu. The other end is passed in front across the left arm and shoulder, one edge being brought over the top of the head. It is then allowed to fall behind and over the right shoulder and arm. In Pl. V. and VI. will be found several illustrations of the manner of wearing the Saree. The Brahmin lady, No. 37, Pl. VI., shows its application when it forms almost the complete Hindu clothing ; fig. 34, Pl. V., a photograph from an imperfect painting on talc, shows an instance in which the Saree has been employed to produce the full effect of a petticoat of moderate dimensions. The Mahratta costume of the well-known and celebrated lady the Begum of Bhopal as represented to the left in No. 35, Pl. VI. (and in three other groups in the same Plate) is likewise worthy of attention.

The sitting figures in group 27, Pl. V., represent the mode of adjusting a Saree of less ample dimensions when used by women employed in out-door labour the end, which falls in front, being passed between the legs, and tucked in behind, forming as it were drawers reaching to the knee. In addition to the petticoat or trowser the Mahomedan women in many parts of Northern India use, instead of the Saree, the Boorka or sheet veil, which consists of a covering thrown over the head, with a networked space opposite the eyes, and which is voluminous enough to conceal almost the whole person.

In Burmah the principal article of female dress consists of a square piece of cloth worn over the back and across the breast, one end being secured by thrusting it under the fold which comes over the bosom.

[S. 40] With respect to the materials of which the Saree is made, and the character of its texture, a few general remarks may here be made.

As to material, cotton naturally occupies the first place, then mixtures of cotton and silk, and lastly, silk itself. There are no examples given in which wool has been employed, but some of the remarks already made, respecting the introduction of that fibre into fabrics suited for wear in India during the cold season, should be kept in view by the manufacturer, being as applicable to Sarees as to Loongees.

Just as in the case of the Loongees and Dhotees, attention must be paid to the texture of the fabric employed. This requires to be loose and soft, in order to be agreeable to the wearer, and to allow the garment to fall more gracefully into shape.

Indeed, during the hot season, it would be almost impossible to wear a cloth of cotton or silk in the manner the native women of India do, unless it were of open texture and soft and pliable.

With respect to the way in which these long scarfs are embellished by the introduction of borders, &c., we shall find the same variety in the character of the decoration, and the same subordination of ornament to function as in the case of Loongees.

Sarees, made in separate pieces of the proper length, have, almost invariably, ornamental borders of some sort or other ; and one end, that exposed to view, has care devoted to its adornment, as in the case of the turban-pieces. The opposite end, being worn next to the body and out of sight, is left nearly plain.

The number of ways in which effect is produced, by the variety of materials and patterns employed to form the borders and ends, will be seen by referring to the descriptions of the groups which follow.

In the note below will be found some terms which have been applied in different parts of India to the Saree or to modifications of it, but the name of Saree is that which is now most commonly employed.1



[S. 53] Although, as already described, the end of the saree is made to act as a covering for the head, we find in many instances that kerchiefs are specially used for this purpose.

Fig. 28, PI. V., affords an illustration of the manner in which these are occasionally worn, fastened like a turban with one end falling loose behind. Sometimes they are worn shawl fashion, falling over the shoulders as shown on the female No. 26, PI. V.


[S. 54] We have now to consider the varieties of piece-goods employed in the manufacture of made-up articles of dress. The needle is required for the conversion into clothing of a large proportion of the fabrics now to be described; but it must be kept in mind that a proportion by no means insignificant is used for Loongees, Dhotees, and Sarees that is for the scarf-like garments already described by being simply cut to the proper lengths, in a few instances ornamental borders and ends being sewed on.1

1 Sewing and embroidering in India is chiefly practised by men, and these in the Northern provinces are mostly Mahomedans, the larger demand on the part of the people of that persuasion for this class of articles having naturally led to their greater expertness as workmen. In the Central and Southern provinces, however, they are nearly exclusively Hindus.


The articles of attire which we have now to notice are those in which the material has been made to assume various shapes, more in accordance with our European notions of clothing.

We shall in the first instance refer to made-up head-dresses. Commercially speaking, however, these are not important, the quantity of material required for their manufacture being but small. Although the loom-made turban already described forms an important piece of native dress, it does not constitute the only head-dress of the people. On the contrary, among a population comprising innumerable tribes and castes, it may naturally be expected that coverings for the head will be found of every variety of material, form, and ornamentation, some elegant and some perhaps almost grotesque.


The skull-cap, made up from various materials, is a common form of head-dress, and is often worn temporarily as a substitute for the more elaborate turban.

Many of the Brahmins in Bhagulpore and also in the South of India, wear a cap of dyed cotton cloth, which sits close to the head and descends with two flaps over the ears ; an ugly looking affair, which however, is stated to be the original head-dress of the sacred order.

Mahomedans sometimes wear the Taj, a small conical cap of muslin ; and the Brahmins of Sind use the Arak-chin, an article of the smoking-cap style, made of white or coloured cotton, and also the Col, a cap lined with cotton, with a knob on the top. In the decoration of the skull-cap and smoking-cap forms of head-dress, the Sind Embroiderers produce very effective and tasteful designs, worked in gold, silver, or coloured floss silks, on cloth or velvet ; while in Cashmere and Loodianah the shawl pattern and shawl material are often employed. The most gorgeous form of head-dress known in India is probably the bulky Topee, formed entirely of gold and silver cloth, and adorned with precious stones. These are made by the Embroiderers of Lucknow, Delhi, and Benares, and are worn only by natives of the highest rank, forming a portion of the Dress of Honour which is sometimes presented to persons of distinction by the princes of native courts.

[S. 55] Among the examples of piece goods in this work are classed certain specimens of chintzes, with a peculiar dotted pattern. These are used in making up the mitre-shaped hat of the Parsee, a form of turban frequently recognisable in the busy quarters of London. This peculiar head-dress is made of pasteboard, or other similar stiff and light material, upon which the chintz is stretched and fastened.

The Sindee Topee is a cylinder, like an inverted hat, with the brim at the top, and is produced in a variety of colours.

The Moplas of Malabar wear a stiff cap made of twisted silk thread, or of pasteboard, and around this a Rumal (or shawl kerchief) is sometimes wound.

Fur caps are also occasionally worn in cold weather, in lieu of the turban or other lighter head-dress -- Mahomedan gentlemen using embroidered otter skin (Sumber-topi), and Persians the soft black lambskin of Bokhara.

Wool and felt are used in the North and North West. The Guddees, in the Transutlej Division, wear a peculiar conical cap of wool, with long flaps to protect the ears, the front being often decorated with dried flowers, gay feathers, or red seeds threaded like strings of beads. At Simla, the Kunyts wear felt hats and caps, which are sometimes rendered more attractive by the addition of coloured cloth.1

1 The chief of the Kirghiz tribes at Semipalatinsk, is said to wear a brown conical hat, turned up at the sides the description indicating a form somewhat like that of the felt wide-awake in use in this county.

As we have already stated, as a rule, there is no special or made-up head-dress in use among the women of Hindustan, the end of the Saree or a kerchief being ordinarily employed as a covering for the head. To this, however, there are exceptions, the embroidered skull-cap being occasionally used ; whilst in some less civilised parts of the country, as in Kooloo for instance, we find the ladies wearing a small quilted cap of gay chintz, which is adorned with broad chains of berries, beads, and coarse turquoises, and amulets of enamel or china work. This elaborate combination, like the European bonnet of the present day, helps to keep in its place the back hair which the owner intertwines with a roll of wool.


Plate VIII.

Of articles coming under this head a good general notion will be acquired by examining the illustrations contained in this work.

In Plates I., II., III., IV. the made-up articles shown are (with one exception, No. 24 Pl. IV.), almost entirely of cotton. In Plate VII. (facing p. 140) coarser woollen fabrics and skins are the materials employed ; -whilst in Pl. VIII. (facing p. 118) we find garments made of the finer woollen cloths, and of Kincob1 or gold brocade. To the Cashmere shawls which are worn with these brocades, special reference will elsewhere be made.

1 Kinkhaub is the more correct spelling, but Kincob is the term now commonly used.

The standing figure to the left of the centre group No. 4, Pl. I. (facing p. 14), and that to the right, No. 15, Pl. III. (facing p. 22), afford examples of the short Hindu jacket with long, loose sleeves the material of both is ordinary calico, the second being quilted for use during the cold season.

It will be observed that in the instance in which the front of the jacket is in view the fastening is on the right side. The Hindu fastens his jacket on the right side, while the Mahomedan fastens his on the left, and the two nationalities may almost invariably [S. 56] be thus known the one from the other, even when the dress, as often happens, is of the same shape and material.1

1 That in these days, however, there are exceptions to this rule evidence is afforded by the standing figure in the group of Mahomedans so called in the description which accompanied the original photograph engaged in the favourite game of chess, in the centre of Pl. II., in which the coat is tied on the right instead of on the left side.

Fig. 21, Pl. III., shows the ordinary long calico coat now worn by the great majority of well-to-do Hindus. In form this differs but little from the long but somewhat more ample garment which Mahomedans wear.

The standing figure to the left of the group in the centre of Pl. II., and the figures No. 20, Pl. III., and 24, 25, Pl. IV. (facing p. 32), afford additional examples of this article of dress. In the note below will be found the names and descriptions of other garments of the same class either used as upper or as under clothing.2


[S. 57] After the jacket or long coat, the article next in importance is the Paejama or Trowser.

It is worn by both sexes, and although its use is as yet greatly confined to the Mahomcdan part of the population, the younger members of the Hindu community in the larger towns are beginning to adopt it. In most parts of the country the Dhotee is invariably worn under it. As a riding dress the Hindus wear trowsers, but always with the Dhotee underneath.

Some Rajput women are said to wear long drawers like the Mahomedans ; their use amongst Hindu ladies however, is extremely limited.

The Paejama1 is variously made, sometimes wide and free and sometimes tight at the leg and ankle.

1 Although this term (Paejama), literally leg-clothes, has come to be of pretty general application, strictly speaking it applies only to the loose variety. In the north and cast of India the Paejama is for the most part loose. In the central and southern provinces the Paejama is generally tight. By the Mahomedans of Arcot and Southern India generally, a peculiar form of Paejama is used which bulges out at the sides like the European "peg-top" trowsers. Izar is in some districts the distinctive name of the kind used by men, and Turwar that used to indicate the tight-fitting female trowser, of which the standing figure to right of group 30, in the centre of Pl. V. (facing p. 40) affords an illustration. Shalwar and Gurgi are two names likewise in use ; the former referring to long and the latter to short trowsers or drawers tight at the knee and full above.

The male figures 24 and 25, Pl. IV., and the standing figure to left of the centre group 30 in Pl. V. (facing p. 40) illustrate the first ; whilst the figure to the right in same group, and the stalwart devotee, No. 17, Pl. III., show the latter form; the last-named figure also shows a mode of fastening by means of a string tied round the waist.2

2 The strings used for this purpose are frequently of a very ornamental character, made of silk net-work like our military sashes, with gold tassels, &c.

Although amongst the female part of the community the use of the trowser is almost entirely confined to those of the Moslem persuasion, we find that the petticoat or skirt, though also of Mahomedan origin, is frequently worn by Hindu women along with the Saree.3

2 Buchanan states (Op. Cit., Vol. II., p. 417) that widows of pure birth are not allowed to use the petticoat, ut that those of low caste may.

Fig. 26, Pl. V. illustrates what may be termed the simplest form of petticoat. As a rule, it is a garment which is kept within more moderate dimensions than in European countries, but there are instances in which it consumes as many as 60 yards4 of materia in the making. It is allowed however to hang in thick dense folds, without, any attempt at expansion by mechanical means. The skirt or petticoat shown on the prim-looking dancing girl, No. 31, PI. V,, is of this class.5

4 In the India Museum there are two dress-skirts, the one of red and the other of white muslin, which measure respectively 103 and 180 feet in circumference.

5 Lahangga, Luhinga, Ghagra, and Peshgecr are terms used to designate the skirt or petticoat. Peshwaz is the name of a Mahomedan dress reaching to the ankle, and is usually of coloured muslin. The upper portion to the waist is similar to the full dress Jama, the lower portion being as much frilled as the waistband will carry. The lower part of the skirt is trimmed with bands and flounces of gold lace, and silver and gold tissue ; the upper portion being also richly ornamented. This dress is worn by Mahomedan brides, and by Mahomedan ladies on occasions of household festivals ; and it forms the invariable costume of Mahomedan dancing women, or of Hindus who dance in the Mahomedan style. Peswaj, however, is given by Buchanan as the name of a gown with sleeves, which reaches to the heels worn by Mahomedan ladies.

[S. 58] A kind of bodice or close-fitting jacket, of varying dimensions, is now almost universally used by Hindu women. There are, however, one or two districts in which, as before stated, no special needle-made covering for the bosom is worn by respectable Hindu women.

The most common form of the bodice worn by Hindu and Mahomedan women, consists of a closely-fitting jacket with short sleeves1, either merely covering the breast or having a back attached to it as well. In the first case the bodice ties behind and the front does not open. In the second, with a back, the ends of the bodice tie in front under the breasts. Another variety of the jacket termed Koortee reaches nearly to the waist and sometimes lower, and has very short sleeves. It is worn by Mahomedan women and is frequently used over the former.

1 Called Kachuree in some dialects of Western India ; the term Cholee, although strictly applicable to that which has a back, is the one commonly used.

Kupissa or Kupassa is the name given to the bodice in Mysore, &c.

Buchanan describes the Anggiya as a bodice with very short sleeves, which reaches to the waist, is made of muslin, and is worn under the Peswaj. The Koortee, by the same authority, is also referred to as having been introduced into Behar from the west.

The Ungia, as worn with the petticoat, is closed in front and ties behind. The Cholee, worn with the Saree, on the contrary, is tied in front and closed behind.

Captain Meadows Taylor, to whom we are indebted for some valuable notes under this head of our subject, endorses Buchanan's statement, that before the Mahomedan conquests, the bodice, and other needle-made articles were unknown in India.

Fig. 33, Pl. V., gives a fair idea of the Choice or first variety of bodice, but the sleeves, as there shown, are shorter than is usual among Hindus.

Of the Koortee or Mahomedan jacket, with its characteristic short sleeve, no illustration is given.

The figures 34, Pl. V., and those in 35, Pl. VI. (facing p. 50), show the Cholee sleeve as most commonly worn by Hindu ladies. As a general rule the sleeve of the Mahomedan cholee reaches less than half-way from the shoulder to the elbow, whereas the Hindu sleeve usually extends just below the elbow.

Our general remarks on the costumes of the people of India may now be considered to be nearly completed a few observations regarding the application of made-up woollen materials only remaining to be made.

Accordingly, we shall now proceed to describe the cotton, silk, and other piece goods employed in the manufacture of the class of garments to which reference has just been made, and in dealing with this part of our subject we shall commence with the finer before proceeding to the coarser materials, though many of the last are, commercially, of most importance.


[S. 59] As under this head we shall have occasion to notice the famed and still valued productions of the Dacca loom, we shall here take the opportunity of making some general remarks regarding their fineness.

It has long been a subject of interest and doubt whether the finest Dacca muslins have ever been equalled or surpassed by the machine-made muslins of Europe. An answer has been given to the question by the British manufacturer, who alleges that the hand-spinner of Dacca has produced nothing so fine as some of the examples produced by his machinery. It was asserted, and it has been generally accepted as true, that in the Exhibitions of 1851 and 1862 there were muslins of European make which were finer than anything shown there from India.

Whatever be the state of the case, however, as regards the contest between Dacca and European muslins, quoad actual fineness, this at least seems clear and it is admitted, we believe, by all that as regards apparent fineness India bears the palm. It is said that this is explained by a greater compression of the thread, depending on the peculiar mode of spinning, and by a consequent lessening of its diameter.

We do not think that this fact should be lost sight of. Apparent fineness, of course, is not actual fineness ; but actual fineness loses much of its value by seeming coarse. Whether the muslins which disputed with Dacca for the prize were or were not really the finer, it was admitted by our best judges in such matters that they seemed not to be so.

In dealing with a vexed question of this kind the first thing to be done is to examine the way in which the relative fineness of the different muslins is practically determined and stated. We cannot show this better than by quoting from a letter which we received from Mr. H. Houldsworth, in February 1864 :

"It may be useful to repeat here the formula for ascertaining the fineness of yarn when woven. In England it is designated by the number of hanks in one pound weight of 7,000 grs. A hank is 840 yards, or 30,240 inches. The first step is to count the number of threads of warp and weft in one square inch. This is usually done by the weaver's magnifying glass, which, through an opening of ½ inch, brings the threads in that space distinctly into view. Thus the specimen A B (muslin from Arnee, Madras) counts 40 threads each way in ½ inch, or 80 threads in 1 inch of warp, and 80 of weft, showing that each square inch contains 160 inches of yarn.

Thus (the sq. ins. in the piece x 160) / 30240 = hanks in the piece ;

and, as the wt. of the piece in grains : the hanks : : 7,000 : No. of the yarn.

Then for A B (the length of which is 15 yds. 18 inches, the width 1 yd. 16 inches,

Nothing can be more clear or simple than the process here described, but it is, at the same time, very evidently one into which error may easily creep. For instance, if we take two specimens of the same muslin halving a piece, for example and if we starch and dress the one half, and leave the other unstarched, by following the manufacturer's method of determining fineness, we shall arrive at the startling conclusion that it is two things at [S. 60] once that the yarn of which it is all made is of two distinct qualities. It will be seen that the whole process depends on the determination of the length of yarn in a given weight of cloth ; but it is clear that this length will be the same before starching as after, while the weight, on the other hand, will be very different ; and this will, of course, affect the estimate of the fineness, and it may do so to a very serious extent.

In the case of the Arnee muslin, which formed the subject of the above calculation, we found the loss in weight, after careful washing, to be 23 per cent., and it would in consequence have the No. of its yarn raised from 156 before washing to 203 after washing.

In ascertaining the comparative fineness, therefore, of different woven yarns, this process cannot be safely employed, unless the sizing or starching has been carefully removed from all the specimens examined and compared.

So also it will almost certainly lead to erroneous conclusions if in one muslin the fineness is estimated before, and in another after the yarn is woven. In the first case we find how many hanks or lengths of 840 yards there are in 7,000 grains of yarn, and in the other how many like lengths there are in 7,000 grains of the fabric. But this last will not, or may not, represent 7,000 grains of yarn, but that weight of a mixture of yarn and size.

Now it so happens that in assigning those numbers to European muslins which represent their fineness, they have been computed from the yarns before weaving, but the numbers for the Dacca muslins, on the other hand, have always been computed from the fabrics.

These last are not nearly so heavily starched as fine European muslins generally are, but still a certain proportion of their weight does consist of size. And this fact has only to be stated to show that the two sets of estimates, when used for purposes of comparison, cannot tell the truth of the matter. If the numbers assigned to Dacca muslins be computed from the examination of the finished fabric, so ought also those for the European and even then we must take the further and absolutely necessary precaution of having both sets of specimens carefully washed.

Feeling that this dispute as to superiority was really an unsettled thing, we resolved to try to throw some light on it by another mode of inquiry. It was thought this might be done by a series of determinations of the diameter of the thread, the number of filaments in it, and the diameter of the filaments themselves. Such measurements could only be ascertained by the aid of the microscope in the hands of persons accustomed to its use, and such assistance was accordingly sought.

Four muslins were selected two of European and two of Dacca make. Of the European, one was the best exhibited in 1851, and the other the best exhibited in 1862. Of those from Dacca, one was the best exhibited in 1862, and the other a still finer one from the India Museum.

Each specimen was divided into several portions and these were given to two skilled observers, who were not told that among the samples sent for examination there were any duplicates. This course was adopted in order to have a thorough test of accuracy in a large comparison of results. Ten sets of measurements for each portion of each specimen were made. In only one case was the discrepancy such as to lead us to conclude that the [S. 61] observer had made a mistake, probably by an accidental change of sample at one stage of the measurements. The general results bear intrinsic evidence of substantial accuracy a conclusion which we think a careful examination of the following table will bear out :

These measurements, so far as they go, lead to the following conclusions :—

  1. That the diameter of the Dacca yarn is less than that of the finest European. The two finest specimens of the last ever known to have been exhibited, gave .00222 and .002167 of an inch, while the two specimens from India gave .001526 and .001896 respectively. At first sight this does not appear a great difference, but it is in reality a very appreciable one, and so far as it goes it is distinctly in favour of the Indian fabrics.

  2. That the number of filaments in each thread is considerably smaller in the Dacca than in the European yarns. The two latter gave 13.8 and 14.9, and the two former 9.0 and 8.6. We were scarcely prepared to find this point of difference so decidedly marked, but no result of the investigation may be more safely accepted as correct.

  3. That the diameter of the ultimate filaments or fibres, of which the cotton of the Dacca yarn consists, is larger than that of the European. The two last gave .0006427 inch and .000539 inch; and the two former .000803 inch and .000719 inch. Here again the difference is quite decided, and is only in accordance with the results of other investigations into the comparative size of the filaments of Indian and American cotton. [S. 62]

  4. That it appears from the investigation that the superior fineness of Dacca yarn depends chiefly on the fact that it contains a smaller number of filaments. The mode of spinning as we shall afterwards find makes it more compressed, but it is not probable that this greatly affects the result. Even after taking into account the greater thickness of the filaments of the cotton used in Dacca, it is clear, however, that their number, which is so much smaller, must give a finer thread. In other words the eight to nine (8.9 & 9.0) filaments of a diameter of .000803 and .000719 as in the best of the two Dacca muslins, must give a thread smaller in size or finer, than the 14 or 15 (13.8 and 14.9) filaments of a diameter of .0006427 and .000539 as in the best of the two muslins from Europe.

The measurements of the diameter of the thread were taken from specimens of muslin which were sized, that is in the condition in which they are offered for sale as finished goods. But as it was possible that the sizing might influence these, it was carefully removed from all of them and the measurements repeated.

The results of this part of the investigation are given in the following table :


[S. 64] However viewed, therefore, our manufacturers have something still to do. With all our machinery and wondrous appliances, we have hitherto been unable to produce a fabric which for fineness or utility can equal the "woven air" of Dacca -- the product of arrangements which appear rude and primitive, but which in reality are admirably adapted for their purpose.

Plate A.

These arrangements appear to us of such interest that we shall introduce here a short account of the processes of the Dacca manufactures, and for this purpose shall fully avail ourselves of the information contained in an admirable work on the Cotton Manufactures of Dacca,1 which we are able to say was written by James Taylor, Esq. This gentleman sent to the Exhibition of 1851 a series of specimens of the Dacca fabrics, with valuable drawings, and other objects, illustrative of the process of manufacture. Soon after the Exhibition, Mr. Taylor wrote the book referred to as the one from which the following extracts are taken. Those who desire a knowledge of the subject more full and minute than the quotations afford, should consult the work itself. In order to make the description as clear as possible, we have had prepared from the drawings in the India Museum, a lithographic representation opposite of the chief processes on a larger scale than those which Mr. Taylor used in illustration of his excellent work.

The passages which we have selected and which we here reproduce, are those which describe the processes of spinning, weaving, bleaching, and dressing.

3.2.1. SPINNING.

"The cotton in the state kāpās (i. e. seeds and wool unseparated) is cleaned and prepared by the women who spin the yarn. Fragments of the leaves, stalks, and capsules of the plant are carefully picked out with the fingers, and the wool adhering to the seeds is then carded with the jaw-bone of the boalee fish (Siluris boalis), the teeth of which, being small, recurved, and closely set, act as a fine comb in removing the loose and coarser fibres of the cotton, and all extraneous matter, such as minute particles of earthy and vegetable matter, from it. The Hindoo spinner, with that unwearied patience that characterizes her race, sits down to the laborious task of cleaning with this instrument each separate seed of cotton. Having accomplished this, she proceeds to detach the fibres from the seeds. This is done by placing a small quantity of the combed cotton upon a smooth flat board, made of the wood of the Chalta tree (Dillenia speciosa), and then rolling an iron pin backwards and forwards upon it with the hands, in such a manner as to separate the fibres without crushing the seeds. The cotton is next teased with a small hand-bow, formed of a piece of bamboo with two elastic slips of the same material inserted into it, and strung with a cord made of catgut, muga silk, or of plantain or rattan fibres, twisted together. The bamboo slips are moveable within the centre piece, and in proportion to the extent they are drawn out, or pushed back, the tension of the cord is increased or diminished. The cotton having been reduced by the operation of bowing to a state of light downy fleece, is spread out and lapped round a thick wooden roller ; and, on the removal of the latter instrument, it is pressed between two flat boards. It is next rolled round a piece of lacquered reed of the size of a quill ; and, lastly, is enveloped in the smooth and soft skin of -the cuchia fish, which serves as a cover to preserve it from dust and from being soiled, whilst it is held in the hand, during the process of spinning."

1 A Descriptive and Historical Account of the Cotton Manufactures of Dacca in Bengal, by a former Resident of Dacca. Publisher, John Mortimer, 1851

"The finest thread is spun by women generally under thirty years of age. The spinning apparatus, which is usually contained in a small flat work-basket, not unlike the calathus of the [S. 54] ancients, comprises the cylindrical roll of cotton (pūni), a, delicate iron spindle,1 a piece of shell embedded in clay, and a little hollow stone containing chalk-powder, to which the spinner occasionally applies her fingers. The spindle (tukū'ā) is not much thicker than a stout needle. It is from ten to fourteen inches in length ; and attached to it, near its lower point, is a small ball of unbaked clay, to give it sufficient weight in turning. The spinner (fig. 1, Pl. A.) holds it in an inclined position, with its point resting in the hollow of the piece of shell, and turns it between the thumb and forefinger of one hand, while she, at the same time, draws out the single filaments from the roll of cotton held in the other hand, and twists them into yarn upon the spindle. When a certain quantity of the yarn has been spun and collected on this instrument it is wound from it upon a reed. Dryness of the air prevents the filaments of cotton from being sufficiently attenuated or elongated, and is, therefore, unfavourable to the spinning of fine yarn. A certain degree of moisture, combined with a temperature of about 82 degrees, is the condition of the atmosphere best suited to the carrying on of this operation. The Dacca spinners generally work from soon after early dawn to nine or 10 o'clock, A.M., and from three or four in the afternoon till half an hour before sunset. The finest yarn is spun early in the morning before the rising sun dissipates the dew on the grass ; or, when this is wanting and the air is unusually dry, it is not unfrequently made over a shallow vessel of water, the evaporation from which imparts the necessary degree of moisture to the filaments of cotton, and enables the spinner to form them into thread."

1 In some of the eastern districts of Bengal, and in Assam, the spindle is frequently made of a slender piece of bamboo instead of iron.

"The native weavers commonly judge of the fineness of yarn by sight alone. They have no rule or standard for the length of the reels, or instrument by which they can form an estimate of any given weight of thread. The only mode, therefore, of ascertaining the quality of the fine yarn is to weigh the skeins and then measure them on sticks placed in the ground, as in warping an operation which requires delicate manipulation, and which few except the spinners or weavers themselves can do. Yarn is measured by the hāth (cubit), the length of which is stated by the Commercial Resident to be 19¾ inches ; and is weighed by ihe ruttee, which is equal to about two grains troy. The standard quality of the yarn used in the manufacture of the muslins formerly sent to the Court of Delhi is said to have been 150 hāths in length to one ruttee in weight ; but was commonly used varied from 140 to 160 hāths in length to the above weight the yarn of 140 hāths being employed for the warp, and that of 160 for the weft, of these fabrics. The finest yarn used in the Dacca looms, in the year 1800, did not exceed 140 cubits in length to one ruttee in weight. Some, however, is mentioned as having been spun at Sunargong at this time, of the quality of 175 cubits to one ruttee. Yarn much finer than this is made at Dacca in the present day. A skein, which a native weaver measured in my presence in 1846, and which was afterwards carefully weighed, proved to be in the proportion of upwards of 250 miles to the pound of cotton. The short fibres of the Dacca cotton, of which the fine thread is made, are not well adapted to spinning by machinery; while, on the other hand, the long, cylindrico-spiral, and more elastic fibres of the American cotton which are best suited to this process, cannot be made into fine yarn with the primitive spindle of the Hindoo. In 1811, a quantity of Sea Island cotton was sent by the Commercial Resident to the different manufacturing stations connected with the Dacca factory for trial, but the spinners were unable to work it into thread, and it was pronounced to be an article unfit for the manufactures of the native looms. The Dacca yarn is said to be softer than mule twist ; and I believe it is generally admitted that the fabrics made of it are more durable than muslins manufactured by machinery. The tendency of the fibres to expand from moisture is the criterion by which the native weavers judge of the quality of cotton ; and it is mentioned by Mr. Bebb, the Commercial Resident in 1789, as the test which then determined the value of this article as raised in different parts of the district. The cotton which swells the least on bleaching is considered by the weavers as the best, or at least, as the material best suited to the manufacture of fine thread. A common remark among them is, that English yarn swells on bleaching, while Dacca spun thread shrinks and becomes stronger the more frequently it is subjected to that process."

[S. 60] "A spinner devoting the whole morning to the spindle can make about a half-sicca or tola weight (ninety grains troy) of fine thread in a month. This is considered the maximum quantity. But as spinning is now more a leisure occupation than a professed trade, it is calculated that the average quantity produced in that time, by each of the persons employed in the business, does not much exceed 45 grains weight. Fine thread is weighed either by a small rude balance (tula), on the principle of the Roman steel-yard, or in jewellers' scales the substances used as weights in the latter case being four barleycorns, or a seed of the Abrus precatorius (lāl kūnch), either of which constitutes a ruttee. The price of the finest yarn used in the Dacca looms is eight rupees (16s.) per tola weight (180 grains). This is at the rate of about 31 l. 2s. per pound (7,000 grains) avoirdupois."

The steps in the process of weaving "may be described according to the order in which they occur, under the following heads, viz. : winding and preparing the yarn; warping; applying the reed to the warp ; beaming, or applying the warp to the end roll of the loom ; preparing the heddles ; and lastly, weaving."


"The yarn when delivered to the weaver is wound on small pieces of reed, or made up in the form of small skeins. The first thing that is done is to steep it in this state in water. It is then reeled in the manner shown in figure 3, Pl. A. A piece of stick is passed through the hollow reed and fixed in the cleft end of a piece of bamboo. The weaver, holding the latter between his toes, draws off the yarn from the reed, which revolves upon the stick through it, and winds it upon the reel, which he holds in the other hand, and whirls round in a small cup of smooth cocoa-nut shell. When the yarn is in the form of a skein, it is put upon a small wheel made of fine splints of bamboo and thread. This is mounted on the end of a stick upon which it is made to revolve, and as the yarn is thus drawn off, it is wound upon the reel."

"The yarn is divided into two portions viz., a sufficient quantity of the finest of it for the woof (burna), and the rest for the warp (tānā)''

"The warp thread is steeped for three days in water, which is twice changed daily. On the fourth day it is, after being rinsed, put upon a small wheel, made of splits of reed and thread, and is then reeled the stick upon which the wheel is mounted being held between the toes, and the reel turned in the manner represented. Skeins of a convenient size having been wound off, are steeped in water, and tightly twisted between two sticks ; they are then left upon the sticks and exposed to the sun to dry. They are next untwisted and put into water mixed with fine charcoal-powder, lampblack, or soot scraped from the surface of an earthen cooking vessel. They are kept in tins mixture for two days, then rinsed in clear water, wrung out, and hung upon pieces of stick placed in the shade to dry. Each skein having been again reeled, is steeped in water for one night, and is next day opened up and spread over a flat board, upon which it is smoothed with the hand, and rubbed over with a paste or size made of koie (paddy or rice, from which the husk has been removed by heated sand), and a small quantity of fine lime mixed with water. Rice, it may be remarked, has formed the basis of the starched used in weaving in India, from remote antiquity. 'Let a weaver,' says Menu, ' who has received ten palas of cotton thread, give them back increased to eleven by the rice water, and the like used in weaving, &c., (Menu's 'Institutes,' No. 397.')"

"The skeins after being sized are wound upon large reels, and exposed to the sun the turns of the thread being widely spread over the surface of the reels in order that they may dry quickly. All the thread is again reeled and sorted preparatory to warping. It is generally divided into three shades of quality viz., the finest for the right-hand side, the next finest for the left-hand side, and the coarsest for the centre, of the warp. Such is the mode of preparing the yarn for the warp of plain muslins. The yarn for the warp of striped or chequered fabrics, is prepared by twisting a certain number of threads together, namely, two for each stripe of the dooreea, [S. 67] and four for that of the charkanu, muslin, and then sizing and reeling it in the manner above mentioned."

"The yarn for the woof is not prepared till two days previous to the commencement of weaving. A quantity sufficient for one day's work is steeped in water for twenty-four hours. Next day it is rinsed and wound on large reels, and then lightly sized with paste of the same kind as that applied to the warp. From small reels it is wound upon larger ones, and left upon these to dry in the shade. This process of preparing the yarn for the woof is continued daily until the cloth is finished."

3.2.3. WARPING.

"This operation is usually performed in a field or any open spot convenient for the work near the weaver's house. For this purpose, four short bamboo posts are fixed in the ground, at measured distances (varying according to the intended length of the cloth), and several pairs of rods placed between them, the whole forming two parallel rows of rods about four feet apart. The weaver holding a small wheel of warp-yarn in each hand (Fig. 2, Pl. A.), passes the latter over one of the posts and then walks along the rows, laying down two threads, and crossing them (by crossing his hands between each pair of rods) until he arrives at the post at the opposite extremity. He retraces his steps from this point, and thus continues to traverse backwards and forwards as many times as there are threads of the warp to be laid down. The small wheels or bobbins on which the warp yarn is wound are made of fine splits of bamboo and thread, and are each attached at a right angle to a short handle, at the end of which there is a kangch1 ring, through which the yarn runs. Two pairs of hand-wheels, one with single, and another with twisted yarn, are used alternately for the warps of striped and chequered muslins."

1 A kind of coarse glass.


"The reed is generally applied to the warp after the preceding operation ; but sometimes it is not attached until the warp has been fastened to the end roll of the loom. It is made of fine splits of bamboo firmly fixed between ribs of split cane. The finest reed used in the Dacca looms contains only 2,800 dents in a space of 40 inches in length. In order to apply it to the warp, the latter is folded up in the form of a roll or bundle, and suspended from the roof of the weaver's hut, with one end of it unfolded, spread out, and hanging down to within a foot or two from the ground. The reed is then fastened with two slight cords to the bundle and lease rods, and hangs in front of the unfolded portion of the warp. Two workmen seat themselves (Fig. 4, Pl. A), one on each side of the warp. Having cut with a knife a portion of its end loops, the man in front passes an iron wire or sley hook through the first division of the reed to the other workman ; and the ends of the two outermost threads being twisted upon it by him, it is drawn back, and the thread thus brought through. In this manner the wire is introduced through all the divisions of the reed in succession, and two threads are drawn through each of them at a time. The ends of the threads are gathered in bunches of five or six, and knotted ; and through the loops formed by these knots a small bamboo rod is passed."


[S. 68] "This is done out of doors and generally in the place where the operation of warping is performed. The warp is folded upon the reed in the form of a bundle, and is held by a workman. The end of it is then unfolded, and a thin slip of bamboo having been passed through it, it is received into a longitudinal groove in the end roll (yarn beam), and fastened to it with pieces of string. The end roll rests in two loops of cord attached to two posts, and is turned round with a winch. The warp threads are next arranged. The outermost ones are brought to a distance commensurate with the intended breadth of the cloth, and a portion of the warp being unfolded and put upon the stretch by the person who holds the bundle, two workmen proceed to arrange the threads in its middle. They use a small piece of cane, softened and beaten out at one end into the form of a brush, in order to separate the threads from each other, and then gently tap them with an elastic cane, held in the form of a bow, to bring them into a state of parallelism. The portion of the warp which is thus arranged being carefully wound upon the end roll, another portion is then unrolled and similarly prepared."


"In order to form the heddles, a portion of the warp behind the reed is unfolded and stretched out horizontally in the same manner as it is in the loom. A broad piece of bamboo is then placed edgewise between the threads of the warp, in order that the weaver may have sufficient room to form the loop of the heddles. The reddish coloured twine of which they are made is unwound from a wheel fixed to a post near the weaver, and being passed between the separated threads of the warp to the opposite side, it is fastened to a cane to which is attached an oval piece of wood about eight inches in length. The weaver (fig. 6, Pl. A.) then dips two fingers between the outermost thread of the warp and the one next to it, and brings up a fold or loop of the coloured string which passes upon the inside of the oval piece of wood and is crossed round the cane above. The same process is repeated between every two threads of the warp the cane and oval piece of wood being gradually moved across the warp as the work proceeds. As two sets of loops are made on each side of the warp, two workmen are generally employed at the same time in forming them. When the loops of one side are finished, the warp is removed from the posts, reversed, and stretched out as before, and then those of the other side are made. By this process the loops of the one side are interlinked with those of the other the threads of the warp inclosed within them being thereby so placed as either to rise or fall, according as the force applied by the toe of the weaver acts upon the upper or lower loops of the heddles. The canes on which the loops are crossed are fastened by strings to four small bamboo rods the two upper ones being attached, when placed in the loom, to the slings of the heddles, and the two lower ones to the weights of the treadles."


"The Indian loom (fig. 5, Pl. A.) is horizontal, and is said by Heeren to resemble that of the ancient Egyptians. At Dacca it is always erected under a roof either that of the weaver's house, or the cover of a shed built for the purpose. Its lateral standards are four bamboo posts firmly fixed in the ground. They are connected above by side-pieces which support the transverse rods, to which the slings of the lay or batten, and the balances of the heddles, are attached. The warp wound on the end roll (or yarn beam), and having the reed and heddles attached to [S. 69] it, is brought to the loom and fixed to the breast roll (or cloth beam) by a small slip of bamboo, which is passed through the loops of the warp, and received into a longitudinal groove in the beam. Both the end and breast rolls rest either in scooped shoulder-posts, or in strong looped cords attached to the four lateral standards. They are turned round with a winch, and prevented from moving in the opposite direction by a piece of stick, one end of which is inserted into a mortice in the end of the roll, and the other fixed in the ground. The lay or batten consists of two broad flat pieces of wood, grooved on their inner edges for the reception of the reed, which is fixed in its place by iron or wooden pins passed through the ends of the lay. It is suspended from the transverse rod (the counterpart of the cape) above by slings passing through several pieces of sawn shell. By altering the distance between these segments of shell, which is done by lengthening or shortening the intermediate slings, the range of motion of the lay is increased or diminished. The extent of this range of motion regulates, in a great measure, the degree of force which is applied to the weft in weaving ; and, as it is necessary to adapt this to the particular texture of the fabric which is to be made, the proper adjustment of this part of the apparatus requires considerable care, and is considered by the weavers as one of the nicest operations connected with the loom. The balances of the heddles, having the slings of the latter attached to their extremities, are equally poised and suspended from the transverse rod above. The treadles are made of pieces of bamboo, and are contained in a pit dug in the ground, of about three feet in length, by two in breadth, and one and a half in depth. The shuttle is made of the light wood of the betel-nut tree (Areca catechu), and has spear-shaped iron points. It is from 10 to 14 inches in length, and three quarters of an inch in breadth, and weighs about two ounces. It has a long open space in its centre, in which is longitudinally placed a moveable iron wire, upon which the reed of the weft revolves the thread passing, as it is thrown off from the latter, through an eye in the side of the shuttle. The temple, or instrument for keeping the cloth on the stretch during the process of weaving, is formed of two rods connected together with cord, and armed at their outer ends with two brass, hooks or pins, which are inserted into the edges of the cloth on its under surface."

"The apparatus of the loom being all adjusted, the weaver proceeds to work in the manner shown in the figure. He sits with his right leg bent under him, upon a board or mat placed close to the edge of the pit, and depressing one of the treadles with the great toe of the left foot, and thus forming the shed in the warp above, he passes the shuttle with a slight jerk from one hand to the other, and then strikes home each shot of the weft with the lay. In performing these operations the Hindoo possesses unrivalled skill. Like most of the native artisans of Bengal, the Dacca weaver is of a slender and somewhat delicate form of body. Deficient in physical strength and energy, he is, on the other hand, endowed with fine sensibility of touch, and a nice perception of weight; while he possesses that singular command of muscular action which enables him to use his toes with almost as great effect as his fingers in the exercise of his art. 'The rigid, clumsy fingers of a European,' says Orme, ' would scarcely be able to make a piece of canvass with the instruments which are all that an Indian employs in making a piece of cambric.'1 The stretch of the warp in the loom seldom exceeds one yard in length ; and the depth of the shed is generally about seven-eighths of an inch. To lessen friction on the threads of the warp during the process of weaving, the shuttle, reed, and lay are all oiled ; and to prevent the desiccation of the former in very dry hot weather, a brush made of a tuft of fibres of the nut plant (Arundo karka) and smeared with mustard oil, is occasionally drawn lightly along their extended surface. When a portion of the cloth, to the extent of 10 or 12 inches, is finished, it is, in order to preserve it from being injured by insects, sprinkled with lime-water, and then rolled upon the cloth-beam, and a portion of the warp unwound from the yarn-beam at the opposite end of the loom. The condition of the atmosphere most favourable to the manufacture [S. 70] of fine muslins, is that of a temperature of about 82 degrees combined with moisture. The heat and dazzling glare of the sun's rays at mid-day are generally too powerful to admit of the process being carried on at that time, and hence it is a practice among the weavers to work only in the morning and afternoon. The best season for weaving fine muslins is during the months of Assar, Sawan, and Bhadun (from the 13th of May to the 14th of August.) In very dry hot weather it is sometimes necessary, during the operation of weaving, to place beneath the extended yarns of the warp in the loom a few shallow vessels of water, the evaporation from which keeps the threads moist and prevents them from breaking. Doubtless, it is this practice which has given rise to the erroneous notion that Dacca muslins are sometimes woven under water. The time required for the manufacture of a piece of muslin of the usual dimensions (20 yards in length by 1 in breadth) necessarily depends on the quality of the fabric, and the expertness of the weaver employed in making it. In this latter respect there exists great diversity -- natural aptitude, hereditary instruction, and constant practice enabling individuals, as they possess these several advantages to a greater or less extent, to attain to different degrees of excellence in the art. In general, the weavers of the different manufacturing stations of the district confine their industry to the weaving of certain kinds of fabrics ; but, notwithstanding the degree of tact and manual dexterity suited to their particular work, which they thus acquire from this subdivision of the business, there is yet a considerable difference displayed by the workmen in each department, both in regard to the quantity of work of a certain quality which they are individually capable of producing, and the length of time which they require for doing it. On the subject of the time usually occupied in weaving different fabrics, the Commercial Resident states: 'The preparation of the land or warp thread of a full piece of plain or striped cloth of the Dacca station employs two men, according to the quality of the thread, from 10 to 30 days. The weaving of such cloth employs two persons, one to weave, the other to prepare thread and attend the loom if of the ordinary or middling plain assortments, from 10 to 15 days if of the fine, 20 the superfine, 30 the fine superfine, from 40 to 45 and if the cloth be of the fine superfine dooreas or charkana assortments, 60 days. At other stations, where cloths of higher or less value are made, the time requisite for manufacturing them is proportionally increased or diminished. A half piece of mulmul khas or of Circar Ali of the finest kind, costing from 70 to 80 rupees, cannot be manufactured in less than five or six months. A whole piece of Narainpore jehazy muslin, costing two rupees, can be made in the course of eight days.'"

1 Fine muslin is meant.


"The process of bleaching is carried on in the suburbs of the town of Dacca. Abul Fazul mentions a place called Catarashoonda, in Sunargong, that was celebrated in his time for its water, which gave a peculiar whiteness to the cloths that were washed in it. A similar property is ascribed at the present day to the water found in the vicinity of Dacca, extending from Naraindeah, the place where bleaching is now principally practised, to Tezgong, about four miles distant from it. At the latter station the English, Dutch, and French had extensive bleaching grounds during the time they had factories here, but on the extinction of the foreign trade of the place Tezgong was soon deserted, and is now, to a great extent, overrun with jungle."

"The water used in washing cloths at Naraindeah, is taken from wells on the bleaching-ground. In the rainy season, when the rivers are high or full, it percolates through the intervening fine strata of sand, and rises in the wells to within 4 or 5 feet from the surface of the ground ; but in the dry season, when the former are low, it sinks to a depth of about 18 feet, and is frequently thick and muddy and unfit for washing. Cloths are first steeped in large [S. 71] semicircular earthen vessels (gumlas), answering the purpose of tubs in this country, and are then beaten, in their wet state, upon a board, the surface of which is generally cut into transverse parallel furrows. This mode of washing has been practised in India from remote antiquity, as appears from an institute of Menu, where it is stated: 'Let a washerman wash the cloths of his employer, little and little, or piece by piece, and not hastily, upon a smooth board of salmali wood.' (Inst. 398.) Fine muslins, however, are not subjected to this rough process, but are merely steeped in water. All sorts of cloths, of whatever texture they may be, are next immersed for some hours in an alkaline ley, composed of soap1 and sajee matee (impure carbonate of soda). They are then spread over the grass and occasionally sprinkled with water, and when half dried are removed to the boiling-house in order to be steamed. The boiler used for this purpose is an earthen vessel, having a very wide mouth, and of a size capable of containing about 8 or 10 gallons of water. It is placed over a small excavation in the ground, and built up with clay, so as to form a broad flat surface around its neck (fig. 7, Pl. A, facing p. 64), having at one part a slanting opening or passage leading to the excavation below. A hollow bamboo, or reed, fitted with a cup or funnel made of cocoa-nut shell, serves as a tube through which the water is poured into the vessel. The cloths are twisted into the form of loose bundles, and placed upon the broad clay platform, on a level with the neck of the boiler. They are arranged in circular layers, one above the other, around the bamboo tube, which is kept in an upright position by means of the transverse supporters projecting from it, the whole forming a conical pile that rises to a height of 5 or 6 feet above the boiler. The fire is kindled in the excavation below, and as the ebullition of the water proceeds the steam rises through the wide mouth of the vessel, and diffuses itself through the mass of cloths above, swelling by its high temperature the threads of the latter, and allowing the alkali still adhering to them to penetrate more completely into their fibres, and seize on the colouring matter of the cotton.2 The operation of steaming is commenced in the evening, and continued all night till the following morning. The cloths are then removed from the boiler, steeped in alkaline ley, and spread over the grass as on the preceding day, and again steamed at night. These alternate processes of bucking and crofting, as they are technically called, during the day, and of steaming at night, are repeated for 10 or 12 days until the cloths are perfectly bleached. After the last steaming, they are steeped in clear filtered water, acidulated with lime juice in the proportion generally of one large lime to each piece of cloth. Lime juice has long been used in bleaching in all parts of India. Tavernier states that Baroach was celebrated in his time as a bleaching station, on account of its extensive meadows, and the large quantities of lemons raised there ; and he further remarks that, 'Throughout the territory of the Great Mogul they make use of the juice of citrons to whiten their calicuts, whereby they make them sometimes so white that they dazzle the sight.' Mixed fabrics of cotton and muga silk are steeped in water mixed with lime-juice and coarse sugar, which latter article is said to have the effect of brightening the natural colour of the silk. The best season for bleaching is from July to November. At this time the water is clear and pure, and gales, or gusts of wind carrying dust seldom occur to interfere with the drying of the cloths [S. 72] on the grass. Fine thin fabrics exposed to a strong sun at this season of the year are dried in three-quarters of an hour ; cloths of a medium texture, in an hour and and a half; and stout fabrics, in three hours."

1 "Soap appears to have been introduced into India by the Mahomedans, who are still the principal, if not the sole manufacturers of it in Bengal, The Hindoos formerly used, as they still do, a lixivium formed from the ashes of different plants, particularly the plantain tree, in washing clothes. The Indian name of soap -- saboon -- is an Arabic word, and appears to be the origin of sabun, which, according to Dr. Clarke, is the name given to soap in the Crimea ; and of savun, which the same writer also states is applied to it at Genoa. (See Dr. Clarke's "Travels in Russia and on the Don.") The soap manufactured at Dacca is considered the best in Bengal, and was formerly an article of export to different parts of India, Bassora, Jidda, &c. It is composed of the. following materials, viz. : Shell lime, 10 maunds ; sajee matee, 16 maunds ; common salt, 15 maunds ; sesamum oil, 12 maunds ; goat's suet, 15 seers."

2 "The process of bleaching linen by steam is said to be practised with great success in France. It was brought from the Levant, and was first made known to the public by C'haptal." (See Webster and Parkes's "Encyclopedia of Domestic Economy.")

"The bleachers are all Hindoos of the caste of Dhobee (washermen.) The more wealthy individuals of the class are generally either the proprietors or the renters of the bleach-grounds, and employ a considerable number of washermen, chiefly from Junglebaree, during the bleaching season. The boilers are erected under thatched sheds on the bleaching-field, and there are commonly five or six of them under one roof. Spreading the cloths over the grass or upon bamboo rails was formerly done by a set of workmen called contadars, whose business it also was to keep the bleach ground clean, and free of weeds, prickly grass, and whatever tended to injure the cloths. Since the abolition, however, of the Company's factory this has ceased to be a separate business, and is now performed by the other workmen employed on the field. The cost of bleaching depends upon the number of times the cloths are steamed. Including the expense of dressing them, it varies from 30 to 160 rupees (3 l. to 16 l.) per 100 pieces."

3.2.9. DRESSING.

"The cloths having been bleached are dressed by workmen, who practise the several arts included under that head as distinct trades.

"Nurdeeahs arrange the threads of cloths that happen to be displaced during bleaching. They work in the manner shown in fig. 8, Pl. A. The cloth wound upon a roller (nurd) is placed between two posts on the bleaching-ground, and is unrolled and carefully examined. The damaged portion of it is then stretched out, and being wetted with water, an instrument like a comb, formed of the spines of the Nagphunee plant ( Cactus indicus) is drawn lightly along the surface of the displaced threads in order to bring them into their proper places.

"Rafu-gars are darners, who repair cloths that have been damaged during bleaching. They join broken threads, remove knots from threads, &c.

"Rafu-gari (darning) is a branch of needlework in which Mahomedans display a degree of manual dexterity almost equal to that exhibited by the Hindoos in weaving. An expert Rafugar can extract a thread 20 yards long from a piece of the finest muslin of the same dimensions, and replace it with one of the finest quality. This operation, which is called choonae, or 'picking out a thread," is generally done when a coarse thread is discovered in a web of muslin after bleaching. The Rafugars are principally employed in repairing cloths that have been injured during bleaching, in removing weavers' knots from threads, joining broken threads, forming the gold and silver headings on cloths, and sewing the private marks of manufacturers upon cloths before they are sent to be bleached. Most of them are addicted to the use of opium, and generally execute the finest work whilst they are under the influence of this drug. They constitute a distinct class of workmen or Mahomedan guild, and are governed in all matters relating to their business by two elders or chiefs, elected to the office for life, and who preside at their deliberations. They admit none but their descendants in the male line as apprentices into their fraternity. The number of their houses or families at Dacca is estimated at 150.

"Dagh-dhobees are washermen who remove spots and stains from muslins. They use the juice of the amroola plant (Oxalis corniculata), which is described as yielding an acid like that of sorrel, to take out iron marks ; and a composition of ghee, lime, and mineral alkali to efface stains and discolorations, such as are produced by decayed leaves and the plants called Neelbundee and Cuchu.

"Koondegurs are workmen who beetle cloths. Muslins are beaten with smooth chank shells [S. 73] (Voluta gravis, Linn.) ; and cloths of a stout texture with a mallet, upon a block of tamarind wood, rice-water being sprinkled over them during the operation.

"Istreewallahs are cloth-ironers. The very fine plain and flowered assortments of fabrics are ironed between sheets of paper. This work is done only by Mahomedans, and appears to have been introduced into India by them.

"The cloths are folded by the Nurdeeahs, and then piled up and formed into bales, which are compressed by workmen called Bustabunds. This is done by placing them between flat boards, tied together by strong ropes, and tightly twisting the latter with pieces of stick. The ancient mode of packing fine muslins was to inclose them in the hollow joints of bamboo, one of which, forming a tube about 18 inches in length and 1 inch in diameter, was sufficiently large to contain a piece of muslin 22 English yards long and 1 broad. The cylindrical cases of this kind in which the mulboos khas muslins were sent to Delhi were lacquered and gilded ; and when brought into Dacca from the Government weaving establishments at the aurungs, were paraded in great state (as was the case with all articles intended as offerings to the Emperor) through the streets of the town to the residence of the Nawaub prior to their despatch to Court. This mode of presenting muslins to persons of distinction is somewhat similar to that mentioned by Tavernier, who states that Mahomed Ali Beg, on returning to Persia from India, where he had been an ambassador, presented to the King a cocoa-nut shell, about the size of an ostrich egg, studded with pearls ; and that on opening it it was found to contain a turban of Indian muslin 60 cubits long."

This concludes our quotation from Mr. Taylor's interesting work. Before proceeding to describe the specimens themselves, we would here offer some observations on the subject of

3.2.10. SIZING.

Of the cotton goods sent from this country to India a considerable quantity is found to be mildewed either on arrival there or soon after. It need scarcely be said that this is a fact of importance, and one which seriously interferes with the success of trade operations.

Efforts have been made to account for it, and the general opinion arrived at is, that it depends on the presence of certain salts in the size used by the British manufacturer. It is not our purpose, however, to enter into any examination of the matter here, and we make these general remarks simply as an introduction to some others regarding the mode of sizing as practised by the native manufacturers of India, in the expectation that what we say may prove suggestive, and in that way, perhaps, of practical utility.

Nothing can be simpler or purer than the size used by the native manufacturer, which may be described as usually consisting of rice-water, or, in other words, of starch.

In the case of the Dacca muslins, we know that the rice is treated in a peculiar manner, being parched in hot sand before the removal of its husk, and by that process having its starch probably converted into dextrine. Nothing is added to it except a small quantity of fine lime. It will be observed that it contains neither soaps, nor oleaginous matters, nor other drugs, as is generally the case with the sizing used by the British manufacturer.

No native-made goods are sold by weight, so that there is no inducement to size heavily, and thus sell starch at the price of manufactured cotton.

[S. 74] It is a point of interest, however, and may be one of value, to ascertain what amount of sizing native goods actually contain, and accordingly we submitted a number of samples to examination. The results of this investigation will be found in the following table :

3.3. CALICOES, &c.

[S. 82] We have now to speak of the Calicoes and other cotton fabrics, which at one time occupied such an important place in the list of exports from India to this and other European countries. It is not our purpose to enter here into the question of the value of the trade in textiles now existing between India and other parts of the world, but the facts shown in the following Table are so suggestive that we have been induced to include it in the present work.

As contrasted with the value of the cotton goods imported into India, the value of those exported from it to other countries is comparatively small. It is interesting to observe, however, that during the 15 years comprehended in the Table, the total value of the exports of cotton manufactures from India, so far from declining, has actually increased. It will be observed that the value of the calicoes and yarns she sends to Great Britain varies considerably from year to year, and has, on the whole, diminished. This diminution during the two years 1863-4 and 1864-5 has, however, been much more than balanced by increased exports to China, Arabia, Persia, and other parts.

[S. 83]

Calicoes.—Bleached and Unbleached.

The next Table will be found to give the necessary details connected with the calicoes and other plain cotton fabrics, of which examples are given in the books. The first group in the Table will be found to refer to the common unbleached fabrics which, under names varying in different localities, constitute a large proportion of the clothing of the poor. They are also used for packing goods, and as a covering for the dead, for which last purpose a large quantity is employed both by Hindoos and Mahomedans. These fabrics in Bengal pass under the names of Garrha and Guzee. In Western and Southern India they are known under the more general term of Khadi,1 which includes a greater variety in quality of material. The manufacture in India of the commoner of these fabrics is not likely to be affected by competition with European fabrics, for the native-made thread of which they consist can be sold at a less price than any similar yarn as yet exported from this country.

1 Dungaree is the common Bombay designation.


[S. 85] The next group is one which will be regarded with interest. It embraces specimens of the fabrics used in the construction of the tents, which for mouths of every year constitute the home of a considerable portion of the European community in India. It also embraces specimens of the canvas employed for the sails of the numerous vessels which ply between the different Eastern ports. The strength, lightness, and other good qualities of the cotton sailcloth manufactured in India recommend it to more attention than it has hitherto received in this country. The quantity of cotton annually consumed in India in the manufacture of sail and tent cloth is very large.


We come now to the coloured cotton piece goods in which the yarn itself has been first dyed.

In the arrangement of this group we have as far as possible paid attention to the function which the articles are intended to fulfil. For instance, in the Table which follows, the fabrics designed for trouserings will be found, whilst in the next are inserted those used for skirts or petticoats.

It must not, however, be supposed that some of the examples so classified may not be equally suitable for both purposes or for more purposes than one; indeed, we know that they very often are so employed—what is used for skirts by the women being frequently employed as trousering by men.


[S. 90] The next group of cotton fabrics which we have to consider consists of those in which printing is employed. It naturally sub-divides itself into two, first those in which the pattern is printed on a white ground, and second those in which it is printed on a coloured ground.

Fabrics of this character are used chiefly for women's skirts or petticoats, but they are also used for Sarees a portion of the piece, of a proper length, being cut off, and borders and ends being occasionally added. In addition to these uses they are also pretty largely employed to make counterpanes, linings for tents, &c.

Among the specimens in the books there are some good and some bad, that is as regards the character and execution of the printing. They exhibit, however, in a very satisfactory manner, the style of pattern which pleases the Indian taste and which proves saleable. One characteristic of this style is that the pattern is small. Large, staring, gaudy patterns are evidently not popular. The native taste condemns and rejects them. Indeed it is clear that the principles of art are more likely to be violated when the pattern is large than when it is small.

As regards execution, it will be found that Native work is not equal to European. Our machinery and appliances are more perfect, and our printing is consequently better. But while this is true, as the rule, there are marked exceptions ; and among the specimens in the Books will be found some which are as beautiful and as well finished as anything the British manufacturer can produce.

The native dyer and printer has attained great skill in fixing his colours, and this point is one which deserves serious consideration. It must always be remembered that the body-clothing of the Hindu is frequently washed, and by a process which is extremely rough. It is essential, therefore, that the colours should be thoroughly fast. A failure in this entirely destroys the value of the fabric, and hence many of the prints sent from this country have fallen into disrepute, our manufacturers not having fully recognized the necessity of sending no printed goods to India but those in which all the colours are fast.

Dyed and printed cotton fabrics are produced in many parts of India, or perhaps more properly speaking here and there over the whole country. Masulipatam, Arnee, and Sydapet, in the Madras Presidency, are famous for their Chetee or Chintzes.1 Those of Masulipatam are known under the name of kalam-kouree (which literally means "firm colour") and exhibit great variety in style and quality.

1 This word (from Chhint, Hind : variegated), as well as Calico, is of Indian origin, and in that fact we have another indication of the position which India once occupied as an exporter of Cotton manufactures.

As already indicated these printed goods have been divided into two groups those in which the printing is on a white, and those in which it is on a coloured ground. These are given in the three following tables.


[S. 95] A number of articles have been brought together under this heading, which it was difficult otherwise to group. As they had special functions, it was thought that it might serve a useful purpose to keep them together, using function rather than quality or pattern as the basis of the grouping.

They are all cotton fabrics, but some are white and others coloured.

Not a few of them, such as the Table Napkins, Doyley's, and Pocket-handkerchiefs, are manufactured to suit European wants, and these illustrate the imitative power of the native manufacturer. One of the bed-covers -- ruzzai (433) -- is a specimen of Indian quilting. A considerable quantity of raw cotton is used for this purpose, as quilting is often resorted to in the northern districts in order to produce garments which will give a proper protection against the cold.

Tapes form a considerable article of native manufacture, being extensively used in the making of bedsteads. The purpose to which they are applied shows that they must be strong. A width of two to three inches is common.

3.4. SILK.

[S. 97] We have now to illustrate the silk, or silk and cotton piece goods which form an extensive article of manufacture in many parts of India, chiefly for home consumption, but partly also for export, as will be seen by reference to the following Table A., which shows the quantities and value of the silk goods exported from India and from each Presidency to all parts of the world from 1850-51 to 1864-65.

In the Tables which follow the examples in the Books, these manufactures have been grouped under four heads :

  1. In the first one are included the plain, striped, and checked fabrics, which consist of silk and cotton, and are employed for Trowserings, and occasionally also for Skirts and Choices.

  2. In the second group we have an important class of fabrics, also consisting of silk and cotton, and commonly known under the name of Mushroo, which is a satin with a cotton back. It is a favourite material, and is used in a variety of ways by the well-to-do classes for dress purposes, covering cushions, &c. Some idea of the variety and beauty of the patterns produced in this material will be gathered from an inspection of the specimens in the Books.1

    1 All Mushroo's wash well, especially the finer kinds. As this manufacture is principally used for Choices, petticoats, and for trousers of both sexes, washing becomes indispensable, and the dyes used are in all cases fast, not fading with time, or becoming streaky or cloudy after being wetted. In any imitation of these fabrics, the best dyes would be necessary, and such careful weaving as would enable the gloss to be preserved in the washing as in the Mushroo fabrics, otherwise they would be of no value. English or French satins are more beautiful both in colour and texture ; but it is needless to say they will not wash, and therefore would not supply the place of " Mushroos."

  3. In the third Table are included the specimens in which silk alone is the textile material employed. These, like the others, are used for making up trowsers and other articles of attire, and also for linings. It will be observed that in the description of the different patterns, some are noted as being favourites with the Hindu, and others with the Mahomedan portion of the community.2

    2 Stated on the authority of the Lahore Central Committee, which forwarded to the International Exhibition of 1862 a valuable collection of the patterns prevailing in the Punjab.

  4. In the fourth Table we have a few examples of printing on silk as used for the production of a class of goods in vogue amongst the Parsees and employed by them for Sarees, Trowserings, &c. No. 549, Vol. XIV., showing a dark spot in the centre of a white line, illustrates the material and pattern used for making the peculiar mitre-shaped Turban worn by the Parsees. The spots, however, on the fabrics most commonly employed are smaller than those in the specimen referred to. The white margin round the dark central spot is produced by hitching up, and tying a thread around small portions of the cloth, which on transference to the dye-trough is not affected by the [S. 98] colour employed. In many specimens the ties are very fine and close to each other, and, consequently, involve the expenditure of much time and trouble in their production.

The rapidity with which the successive little portions of silk are hitched up and ligatured by an experienced hand is, however, very remarkable.

This pattern is extremely difficult to imitate exactly, and, as it is one of those results in which a certain charm arises from the absence of the perfect regularity usually effected by machine operations, it is probable that it will still continue to be produced in the laborious and comparatively expensive manner just described.1

1 That it is possible, however, to produce by machinery at least some classes of this kind of goods, was shown by the "Batiks" manufactured in Holland and shown by Previnaire et Cie., of Haarlem, in the Exhibition of 1862.

The only other example of a silk material to which we would refer is that presented by No. 555, Vol. XIV., a red silk gauze, from Bhagulpore, stated to be used for mosquito curtains.

The original length of the piece was 11 yards, the width 31 inches, the weight 5¾ ounces, and the price 1 l. 12s. 0d., a sum, probably, very considerably beyond its real value. Although the only example of a mosquito curtain material here given is of silk, it has to be mentioned that this is a very rare application, light cotton gauze or net being the article usually employed. The greater portion of the nets exported from this country are employed in the manufacture of mosquito curtains, which are extensively used in India both by Europeans and well-to-do natives.

The foregoing concludes the only remarks which we have considered it necessary to make regarding the fabrics manufactured from true silk, the produce of the Bombyx mori.


[S. 106] In the Table which follows are included the examples given in the Books of Textiles made from what, in contradistinction to the foregoing, or cultivated variety, may be called Wild Silks. Of these the Tussur, Eria, and Moonga are the most common, and fabrics made of some of them—and particularly of the Moonga—have probably been known in the East from time immemorial.

Although Tussur is the variety of wild silk best known in this country, the Moonga, from its superiority in point of gloss and other qualities, is that most commonly employed, especially for the manufacture of mixed fabrics, and for some kinds of embroidery.

No. 294, Vol. VIII., is an example of a fabric consisting of cotton striped with Moonga silk.

Mixed fabrics of this description are stated by Taylor to form the fourth class of the Textile manufactures of Dacca, the cotton yarn used in their manufacture ranging from 30s to 80s.

The Silk—Muga or Moonga—is imported into Dacca from Sylhet and Assam. It is prepared for the loom by being first steeped in water mixed with powdered turmeric, and afterwards in lime juice. It is next rinsed, dried, and sized with paste made of parched rice and water, without an admixture of lime, and then reeled and warped in the same manner as cotton thread. The cloths of this class are of considerable variety both as [S. 107] regards texture and pattern. Some consist chiefly of cotton, with only a silk border or a silk flower or figure, in each corner ; others are striped, chequered, or figured with silk throughout the body of the cloth. The different varieties may amount to thirty in number, but the principal ones are the Kulawroomee, Nowbutee, Azeezoola, and Luchuck.

These cloths are made exclusively for the markets of Arabia. Some, indeed, are occasionally shipped to Rangoon, Penang, and places to the eastward, but the far greater portion of them is exported to Jidda, whence they are sent into the interior of the country. A considerable quantity of them is sold at the annual fair held at Meena, in the vicinity of Mecca. They are made into turbans, gowns, vests, &c. by the Arabs. They were formerly transported from Jidda to Egypt, and were at one time the principal articles of export from Dacca to Bassora, whence they were sent to various parts of Mesopotamia and to Constantinople.

Of the Eria, two examples of fabrics from which (Nos. 559 and 560, Vol. XIV.) are given, little need here be said. Although possessed of great durability, the Eria, like the Tussur, is defective in the gloss which gives such beauty to true silk.

The following description, by Buchanan, of the preparation of Tussur (or, as he renders it, Tasar) thread and its manufacture in Bhagulpore, although given with a certain reservation as to the accuracy of some of the details, will be read with interest.

It has to be premised, however, that the description here given refers to a period long anterior to the present.

"Of the weavers who work in Tasar silk, a few weave cloth entirely of that material, hut the quantity is so trifling that I shall take no further notice of it, and confine myself to detail the accounts of the mixed cloth called Bhagulpuri, because almost the whole of it is woven in the vicinity of that town ; for out of 3,275 looms, stated to ho in the district, 3,000 of these were said to be in the Kotwali division. The women of the weavers mostly wind the thread, although the men sometimes assist. These people are so timid, that no great reliance can be placed on what they say; but I shall mention what was stated by two men that came to me at Munggcr from Bhagulpoor.

"A woman takes five pans of cocoons (403), and puts them in a large earthen pot with 600 sicca weight of water, a small mat being placed in the bottom to prevent the cocoons from being burned. a small quantity of potash, tied in a bit of cloth, is pat into the pot, along with the cocoons, which are boiled about an European hour. They are then cooled, the water is changed, and they are again boiled. The water is poured off, and the cocoons are put into another pot, where they stand three days in the sun covered with a cloth to exclude insects. On the fourth day they are again boiled, with 200 sicca weight of water, for rather less than an hour, and then poured into a basket, where they are allowed to cool, after which they are washed [S. 108] in cold water, and placed to dry on a layer of cow-dung ashes, where they remain spread, and covered with a cloth, for six hours. The woman then picks out such cocoons as are not quite ready for winding, and exposes them for a day or two to the sun, which completes the operation. The outer filaments of the cocoon are then picked off, and form a substance called Jhuri, of which the potters make brushes used for applying a pigment to their vessels. The fibres from 4 to 5 cocoons are then wound off on a miserable conical reel which is twirled round by one hand, while the thread is twisted on the thigh, the cocoons adjusted, and the broken fibres joined by the other. The cocoons while winding are not placed in water. This thread is called Lak, and after the Lak has been removed, there remains another inferior kind of filament, called also Jhuri, which is wound off, and is purchased by those who knit strings. Even the cocoons, that have been burst by the moth, are wound off ; but owing to the frequent joinings give a weaker silk. When the Tasar is neither very high nor very low, that is, when 405 cocoons cost a rupee at Bhagulpoor, a woman boils and winds this number in 10 days.

"The kinds of cloths, most usually made, are as follows :

  1. "1st. Duriyas, the warp consists of three parts of cotton, and two parts of Tasar of different colours. The woof is all cotton of one colour, so that the cloth is striped lengthways, and is dyed entirely by the weavers in the thread. The pieces are most usually from 20 to 22 cubits long by 1½ broad, and on an average sell at 42 annas. The cotton thread costs 22 annas, the Tasar 101 annas. A man can weave monthly 7 pieces.

  2. "2nd. Namunahs are pieces from 20 to 22 cubits long and If broad ; the most common price is 44 annas. The warp contains about 35 parts of cotton thread, and 21 of Tasar, disposed in stripes of a different pattern from those of the Duriya. The woof is all cotton. The cotton costs 21 annas, the Tasar 14 annas. The dying done by the weaver, the drugs costing 1 anna. The loom makes seven pieces a month.

  3. "3rd. Chaharkhanahs. The pieces are about 18 cubits long and f of a cubit wide. The average value is 2½ rs. Each loom weaves 6½ pieces in the month. The warp requires 10 parts of cotton, and 15 parts of Tasar ; the woof 10 parts of cotton and 18 parts of Tasar, so that the pieces are checkered. The cotton thread is worth 6 annas, the Tasar 1r. 6as. The dyeing costs 4 annas.

  4. "4th. Baftahs are pieces of an uniform colour, dyed after being woven. The pieces are of the same size with the Namunahs. All the warp is Tasar, the woof is cotton. The former costs 18 annas, the latter 20 annas ; the dyeing and washing cost from 3 to 6 rs. for 20 pieces, or on an average 3 annas. The common price of the pieces is about 3rs. (from 2 to 5rs.) In the month a loom weaves 6½ pieces. The foregoing kinds are mostly made for exportation ; the following is mostly made for country use:

  5. " 5th. Khariasri are pieces 12 cubits long and 2 cubits broad. They differ in size and fineness from the Duriyas. The Tasar costs 6 annas, the cotton 7½ annas , the pieces on an average worth 1 10/16 rs. and a man weaves eight pieces a month. The weaver dyes this kind.1

1 Buchanan in " Martin's Eastern India," Vol. II. pp. 271-4.


[S. 109] In the subjoined Table are included the specimens in which gold and silver thread are employed in the decoration of piece goods.

The first group shows certain specimens in which the ornamentation is confined to the introduction of a gold border, which is used as a finish to the Choice sleeve, &c.

In the second division, the piece also for making up into Cholees is striped with gold and silver throughout.

The third group shows examples of gold figured Mushroos. In the fourth and last division, we come to the still more highly ornamental fabric to which the term Kincob1 is applied.

1 The name of this material is rendered in a variety of ways Kincob, Kuncob, Kincaub, Kumkhwab, Keemkab, and lastly, Kinkhap. The fourth kumkhwab is the most correct rendering of the original Persian word ; although Kincob, as being best known, is that which we have chosen.

Of the variety and beauty of the patterns produced in India by these combinations in the loom of silk, gold, and silver, only a faint idea can be obtained from the specimens given in the books.

Those who may desire to acquire fuller information, may do so by consulting the Collection at the India Museum.

The European manufacturer who may have attempted the introduction of metal into his fabrics, will all the more readily comprehend and admire the results obtained by the Indian weaver. The gold or silver thread used in the manufacture of the articles now under notice, is made by twisting the flattened wire, called Badla, around silk thread. The workmen who manufacture the gold and silver thread are called Batwaiya or Kalabatu -- Nakad being the name applied to those who wind and twist the silk to make it fit for the operations of the former, whilst the weaver of the cloth itself is called Tashbaf.

The following description, by Captain Meadows Taylor, of the process by which gold and silver thread, called Kullabutoon, is manufactured in India will be read with interest.

"For gold thread, a piece of silver about the length and thickness of a man's forefinger is gilded at least three times heavily with the purest gold, all alloy being previously most carefully discharged from the silver. This piece of gilt silver is beaten out to the size of a stout wire, and is then drawn through successive holes in a steel plate until the wire is literally 'as fine as a hair.' The gilding is not disturbed by this process, and the wire finally appears as if of fine gold. It is then flattened in an extremely delicate and skilful manner. The workman, seated before a small and highly polished steel anvil, about two inches broad, with a steel plate in which there are two or three holes, set opposite to him and perpendicular to the anvil, and draws through these holes as many wires two, or three as it may be by a motion of the finger and thumb of his left hand, striking them rapidly but firmly with a steel hammer, the face of which is also polished like that of the anvil. This flattens the wire perfectly ; and such is the skill of [S. 110] manipulation, that no portion of the wires escapes the blow of the hammer, the action of drawing the wire, rapid as it is, being adjusted to the length which will be covered by the face of the hammer in its descent. No system of rollers or other machinery, could probably ensure the same effect, whether of extreme thinness of the flattened wire, or its softness and ductility.

"The method of winding the wire upon silk thread is also peculiar, and is effected as follows :

"The silk is very slightly twisted, and is rolled upon a winder. The end is then passed over a polished steel hook, fixed to a beam in the ceiling of the workshop, and to it is suspended a spindle with a long thin bamboo shank, slightly weighted to keep it steady, which nearly touches the floor. The workman gives the shank of the spindle a sharp turn upon his thigh, which sets it spinning with great rapidity. The gold wire, which has been wound on a reel as it passes behind the maker, is then applied to the bottom of the silk thread near the spindle and twists itself upwards, being guided by the workman as high as he can conveniently reach, or nearly his own height, upon the thread : but it is impossible to describe in exact terms, the curiously dexterous and rapid process of this manipulation. The spindle is then stopped ; the thread now covered with wire is wound upon the spindle and fastened in a notch of the shank, when the silk thread is drawn down and the spindle is again set spinning with the same result as before. Certain lengths of the gold thread -- 'kullabutoon' -- are made into skeins, and so sold or used by weavers.

"On examination of 'kullabutoon,' the extreme thinness and flexibility of the flattened wire and its delicacy and beauty will at once be apparent, in comparison with attempts at a similar result, which are observable in Irish poplins or other brocades of Europe, which are made by rolling machinery. It is remarkable also, that the Indian brocades, gold and silver alike, never tarnish, but retain their lustre and colour even though washed. This is the result of the absolute purity both of the silver and gold employed, a point which, in Europe, is probably very little considered. There is no doubt that in India 'kullabutoon' with considerable alloy in the wire, is also made and used ; but never enters into the higher classes of manufactures."1

1 A proof of the superiority of the Indian, over the European gold and silver wire as usually manufactured, was afforded at the late Dublin Exhibition ; during the progress of which, the chief exhibitors of the Irish Poplins in which gold and silver thread was used, had to change their specimens on account of their becoming tarnished : whereas the metal embroidered fabrics from India, shown on the same occasion, retained their colour and lustre throughout.


[S. 114] We have now to speak of Hand or Needle Embroidery, a kind of work in which the Native shows admirable skill, and one which, in all probability, is destined yet to occupy a somewhat important place amongst the list of manufactured articles exported from India to this and to other European countries.

A few examples of this sort of embroidery have been inserted in the books, and are classed in the two following Tables, but, just as in the case of the fabrics last considered, these are not calculated to afford an adequate notion of the immense number of ways in which not merely the professional embroiderer, but many of the native ladies of Hindustan, produce patterns of exquisite taste and skill.

Every kind of fabric, from the coarsest muslin to the richest cashmere cloth, is thus decorated ; and though Dacca and Delhi are the places best known for their embroideries, there are numerous other places in India in which the workers are equally skilful.

Dacca, however, has for a very long time been celebrated for its Zar-do-zi or embroidery.

"From Dacca," says the Abbé de Guyon, writing in 1774, "come the best and finest Indian embroideries in gold, silver, or silk, and those embroidered neck-cloths and fine muslins which are seen in France."

The art is considered to have been first introduced into Bengal from the banks of the Euphrates. On this subject, Taylor remarks that, "In the ninth century the merchants of Bussora carried on a direct trade with Eastern India and China. Many Mahomedans settled at this time in the principal ports of these countries, and, doubtless, they introduced from the West such arts, and, among others, that of embroidery, as were required to prepare the goods suited to the markets of Arabia. This conjecture," he adds, "regarding the origin of embroidery in Bengal, is, in addition to the fact of this art being only practised by Mahomedans, further strengthened by the tradition at Dacca that the needles formerly used there were procured from Bussora ; and likewise by the circumstance of Bussora and Jidda having been, from time immemorial, the great marts for the embroidered goods of Bengal."1

1 Taylor's "Cotton Manufactures of Dacca," p. 102.

The following is the description given by Taylor of the embroidery frame, the manner of working, &c. :

"The cloth is stretched out in a horizontal bamboo frame of rude construction, raised about a couple of feet from the ground, and the figures intended to be worked or embroidered are drawn upon it by designers, who are generally Hindoo painters (nuqash) On woollen cloths the outlines are traced with chalk, and on muslin with pencil, and the body of the design copied from coloured drawings. The embroiderers, seated upon the floor around the frame, ply the needle, which, it may be remarked, they do not draw towards, but, on the contrary, push from them, as is the case with all native sewers in India. In place of scissors they commonly use a piece of glass or Chinaware to cut the threads. The zar-doz, or embroiderers, constitute a distinct society or Mahomedan guild of artisans."

[S. 116] In the first part of Table 1 we have specimens of cotton embroidery on muslin, known under the name of Chikan work, termed also Chikan-Kari or Chikan dozee. It includes a great variety of figured or flowered work on muslin for gowns, scarfs, &c. It also comprises a variety of net-work, which is formed by breaking down the texture of the cloth with the needle, and converting it into open meshes. According to Taylor, Mahomedan dresses are frequently ornamented in this manner; and he adds that there are about thirty varieties of this kind of work, of which the Tarter and Sumoonderlah are considered the principal. It is said that the business of Chikan-Kari embroidery affords employment to a considerable number of men and women in the town of Dacca.

In the second division of the first table we have a class of embroideries which, although of a comparatively coarse description, occupy a position of some importance, on account of the extent to which they are still exported to Arabia. These consist of fabrics of Moonga silk, or of Moonga silk and cotton, embroidered either with cotton or Moonga silk, but generally the latter.

The following is Taylor's description of this class of goods:—

" Some of these cloths are embroidered in the cotton portion of the warp with the needle, and are then called Kashida. They vary in size from one and a quarter to six yards in length, and from one to one and a quarter yards in breadth. Their price ranges from 2 to 20 rupees (4s. to 40s.) per piece.

"Cloth printers (chipigurs) are employed to stamp the figures for embroidering on the khasida cloths. The stamps which they use for this purpose are small blocks of the wood of the khutul tree, having the figures carved in relief. The dye is a red earth, which is brought from Bombay, and is apparently what is called "Indian earth" imported into [S. 117] that place from the Persian Gulf. It is mixed with gum mucilage when applied to the cloth, and is easily effaced by washing.

"This kind of embroidery forms the leisure 'occupation of the majority of the females of poor Mahomedan families in the town. The cloths having the figures stamped upon them are distributed among the embroiderers of this class, and are worked by them when not engaged in their domestic duties. The merchants who carry on this business employ male and female agents to distribute the cloths and silk and cotton thread among the embroiderers, and through them they make occasional advances of wages to the latter, as the work proceeds. The amount earned by each embroiderer is a small pittance, not exceeding on an average ten or twelve shillings in the year. These cloths are prepared solely for the markets of Bussora and Jidda, but chiefly for the latter, to which a considerable quantity of them is exported annually."

In the next, or third division (Table 2) are included the examples in which gold, silver, tinsel, and beetle (Sternocera orientalis) wings are employed in the decoration of muslin, silk and gold cloth.

Of the beautiful (silk on cloth) embroidery of Sind, and the still better known embroideries in silk and gold on scarfs and shawls of Cashmere cloth, for which Delhi and other places in the north of India are famous, no examples are given in the Books. To form an opinion of the beauty and extent of these the India Museum Collection must be consulted.1

1 Some of the shop-windows in London frequently display beautiful examples of the class of articles here alluded to.

The following is a statement of the kinds of silk and of gold wire employed in needle embroidery at Dacca. The silk is of two sorts, first common, formerly exported under the name of Dacca silk; and, second, floss silk.

Of the gold and silver thread and wire, the varieties are :

  1. Gonlabatoon, for embroidering muslins.

  2. Goshoo, for embroidering caps.

  3. Sulmah, for embroidering caps, slippers, Hookah snakes, &c.

  4. Boolun, for the manufacture of gold lace and brocade.

3.8. LACE.

Of the ornamental net-work, wrought of threads of silk, flax, cotton, or of gold or silver interwoven, to which the term lace is usually applied, no examples have been given in the Books. The making of lace of this kind is of only recent introduction, and hitherto has been confined to Nagercoil and a few other places in Southern India. Some of the specimens shown at the Exhibition of 1851 and of 18622 attracted attention, and the subject is alluded to here chiefly on account of lace being one of the hand-fabrics which India may yet supply to this and other countries.

2 Regarding the specimens of lace made under Mrs. Caldwell's directions at the Edaiyangudi Missionary School in Tinnevelly, to which a certificate of Honourable Mention was awarded in 1862, the Jury remarks, "White and black lace from Tinnevelly, showing considerable aptitude for this class of manufacture, and that with perseverance great progress would likely be made." Some good specimens of India-made lace are to be seen in the India Museum Collection.

3.9. WOOL.

[S. 118] We have now to place before the reader such information as we possess regarding fabrics made of wool.

In treating of these we shall reverse the order hitherto adopted, and speak first of the more elaborate productions of the native loom, particularly of those known as Cashmere shawls, leaving the commoner fabrics for after consideration.


Some of the ways in which the Cashmere shawl is worn by Native gentlemen will be seen in Pl. VII. opposite the persons of the three first figures being adorned with this costly production.

The importance of the Cashmere shawl manufacture as an article of export, will be gathered from the subjoined Table, which shows the value of the Cashmere shawls exported from India to various countries during the past fifteen years.

[S. 121] It has to be noted that, although the name of Cashmere attaches to all the shawls of the description under notice, a very considerable proportion of them are now manufactured within our own territory. The following extract from the Report of the Lahore Central Committee for the last International Exhibition (1862) affording, as it does, the latest information on the subject, is here inserted ; and this, although involving some repetition of details, will be followed by an extract from the Report of the Sub-Committee appointed in connexion with the Exhibition of 1851, and also by Moorcroft's still more elaborate, but much less recent, account of the manufacture as practised in Cashmere at the period of his travels through Ladak and Cashmere between the years 1819 and 1825.

Referring to shawls, the manufacture of the Punjab, the Lahore Committee (1862) state:

"This is now by far the most important manufacture in the Punjaub ; but thirty years ago it was almost entirely confined to Kashmere. At the period alluded to, a terrible famine visited Kashmere ; and, in consequence, numbers of the shawl-weavers emigrated to the Punjaub, and settled in Umritsur, Nurpur, Dinangar, Tilaknath, Jelalpur, and Loodianah, in all of which places the manufacture continues to flourish. The best shawls of Punjaub manufacture are manufactured at Umritsur, which is also an emporium of the shawl trade. But none of the shawls made in the Punjaub can compete with the best shawls made in Kashmere itself; first, because the Punjaub manufacturers are unable to obtain the finest species of wool ; and secondly, by reason of the inferiority of the dyeing, the excellence of which in Kashmere is attributed to some chemical peculiarity in the water there. On receipt of the raw pashum or shawl wool, the first operation is that of cleaning it; this is done generally by women ; the best kind is cleaned with lime and water, but ordinarily the wool is cleaned by being shaken up with flour. The next operation is that of separating the hair from the pushum ; this is a tedious operation, and the value of the cloth subsequently manufactured varies with the amount of care bestowed upon it. The wool thus cleaned and sorted is spun into thread with the common 'churka' or native spinning-machine. This is also an operation requiring great care. White pashumeea thread of the finest quality will sometimes cost as much as 2 l. 10s. a lb. The thread is next dyed, and is then ready for the loom. The shawls are divided into two great classes

  1.  Woven shawls, called Teliwalah ;

  2. Worked shawls.

"Shawls of the former class are woven into separate pieces, which are, when required, sewn together with such precision that the sewing is imperceptible. These are the most highly prized of the two. In worked shawls, the pattern is worked with the needle upon a piece of plain pashumeea or shawl cloth.

"A woven shawl made at Kashmere of the best materials, and weighing 7 lbs., will cost in Kashmere as much as 300 l. ; of this amount the cost of the material, including thread, is 30 l., the wages of labour 100 l., miscellaneous expenses 50 l., duty 70 l.

"Besides shawls, various other articles of dress, such as chogas, or outer robes, ladies' opera-cloaks, smoking-caps, gloves, &c., are made of pashutneea.

"Latterly great complaints have been made by European firms of the adulteration of the texture of Kashmere shawls ; and there is no doubt that such adulteration is practised, especially by mixing up Kirmanee wool with real pashum. In order to provide some guarantee against this, it has been proposed that a guild or company of respectable traders should be formed, who should be empowered to affix on all genuine shawls a trade mark, which should be a guarantee to the public that the material of the shawl is genuine pashum, especially as the Indian Penal Code provides a punishment for those who counterfeit or falsify trade marks, or knowingly sell goods marked with false or counterfeit trade-marks.

[S. 122] "At Delhi shawls are made up of pushumeea, worked with silk and embroidered with gold lace. A very delicate shawl is made of the wool of a sheep found in the neighbourhood of Ladak and Kulu ; the best wool is procurable in a village near Rampur, on the Sutlej ; hence the fabric is called 'Rampur chudder.' Other woollen manufactures in the Punjaub are Peshawur chogas, made of the wool of the Dumba sheep, and of camel's hair, and chogas made of Patti, or the hair of the Cabul goat."

Of the raw woollen substances used in the Punjaub for the manufacture of shawls, and for some of the fabrics which will afterwards be referred to, the Committee give the following description :

  1. "Pushum, or shawl wool, properly so called, being a downy substance, found next the skin and below the thick hair of the Thibetan goat. It is of three colours : white, drab, and dark lavender (Tusha).

    "The best kind is produced in the semi-Chinese Provinces of Turfan Kichar, and exported via Yarkand to Kashmere. All the finest shawls are made of this wool, but as the Maharajah of Kashmere keeps a strict monopoly of the article, the Punjab shawl-weavers cannot procure it, and have to be content with an inferior kind of Pashum produced at Chathan and exported via Leh to Umritsur, Nurpur, Loodianah, Jelapur, and other shawl-weaving towns of the Punjab. The price of white pashum in Kashmere is for uncleaned, 3s. to 4s. per lb. ; ditto, cleaned, 6s. to 7s. per lb. Of Tusha ditto, uncleaned, 2s. to 3s. per lb. ; cleaned, from 5s. to 7s.

  2. "The fleece of the Dumba sheep of Cabul and Peshawur. This is sometimes called Cabuli Pashum. It is used in the manufacture of the finer sorts of chogas, an outer robe or cloak with sleeves, worn by Affghans and other Mahomedans of the Western frontier.

  3. "Wahab Shahi, or Kirmani Wool. The wool of a sheep found in Kirman, a tract of country in the south of Persia, by the Persian Gulf. It is used for the manufacture of a spurious kind of shawl-cloth, and for adulterating the texture of Kashmere shawls.

  4. "The hair of a goat common in Kabul and Peshawur, called Pat, from which a texture called Patlu is made.

  5. "The woolly hair of the camel. From this a coarser kind of choga is made.

  6. "The wool of the country sheep of the Plains. Regarding the production of wool in the Himalayan or Sub-Himalayan portion of the Punjab, the last year's Revenue Report states that 'there can be no doubt that the valleys of the Sutlej, Ravee, Chandrabaga (or Chenab), Namisukh, and other tributaries of the Indus, supply grazing grounds not to be surpassed in richness and suitableness in any part of the world. The population inhabiting them are chiefly pastoral ; but owing to sloth and ignorance, the wool they produce is but small in quantity, full of dirt and ill-cared for in every way.' The government of the Punjab have made efforts to improve the breed by the importation of Merino rams, but hitherto with little success. However, a truss of Merino wool produced at Huzara, a hill district to the north-west of the Punjab, and sent to England in 1860, was there valued at 1s. 6d. per lb."

The following is an extract from the Report on Cashmere shawls by the Committee for the Exhibition of 1861, to which reference has already been made.1

1 Extracted from the Official Illustrated Catalogue of the Exhibition of 1851. Members of the Committee, Dr. II. Falconer, Joseph Agaberg, and Jorykissen Moakerjee.

[S. 123] "The principal articles of pushmina, or shawl-wool, manufacture may be classiiicd under the following heads :

  1. DOSHALLA, or long shawls, 3½ by 1½ guz.

  2. KUSSABA, or square shawls, 1½ or 2½ guz. square.

  3. JAMEWARS, or striped shawl pieces, 3¾ by 1½ guz.

  4. ULWAN, or plain white shawl cloth.

  5. Miscellaneous, such as carpets, canopies, saddle-cloths, and various articles of dress, stockings, gloves, turbans, &c. DOSHALLAS, OR LONG SHAWLS.

"Doshallas, or long shawls, invariably manufactured and sold in pairs, are the most esteemed production of the looms of Cashmere. They vary greatly according to the richness of the patterns, all of which are distinctly named, and according to the colours of which the dyers profess to make upwards of fifty tints, but the Sub-Committee will confine themselves to the leading colours, viz., black, white, crimsons, purple, blue, green, and yellow.

"Of the finest doshallas, the principal varieties in pattern depend upon the amount of decoration of mitton, or centre piece, the pulla, or border pieces, being always richly flowered. The following are the leading kinds :

  1. Khale mitton, or plain field shawls ;

  2. Poor mitton, or full flowered field ;

  3. Chand-dar, chantahi-dar, alifda koonj boothadar ; according to ornament, being a moon or circle in the centre, four half-moons, green sprigs on a plain ground, a group of flowers at the corners, or any combination of these.

"The Sub-Committee would restrict their consideration of the colours to eight kinds, viz.,

  1. White, sada or safaed.

  2. Black, mooshkee.

  3. Crimson, goolanar.

  4. Scarlet, kermisi.

  5. Purple, ooda.

  6. Blue, ferozee.

  7. Green, zingare.

  8. Yellow, zurd.

"Fine long shawls with plain fields of handsome patterns (khalli mitton) are procurable at about 1,200 rupees per pair, and full flowered (poor mitton) at about 1,500 rupees. Taking the average of these 1,350 rupees, as representing the price of the third class,  including chand-dar, chantahi-dar, &c., and as the average price of the whole ; and supposing a pair of each of the above eight colours were ordered of the three several classes of pattern we should have twenty-four pairs of shawls, at 1,350 rupees, making 32,400 rupees in all. KUSSABAS, OR SQUARE SHAWLS.

"Kussabas, or square shawls, called also Roomals, are of two classes, viz., Kanee Roomal, or loom-manufactured, and Umlee Roomal, or needle-embroidered shawls. In form they are more suited to the taste of the Europeans than the long shawls, and are made and sold singly. They run through the same range of colour and pattern as the long shawls. The needle-worked kinds are much cheaper than the loom-manufactured, and the embroidery is far superior in pattern and execution to the scarfs and shawls embroidered at Delhi. Assuming eight colours and three patterns of each of the Kanee Roomal, at an average of 400, 300, and 500 rupees each, twenty-four square shawls would cost 9,600 rupees, and the same number of needle-worked of Umlee Roomals, at an average of 225, 150, to 300 rupees, would cost 5,400 rupees. JAMEWARS.

[S. 124] "Jamewars form the third great class : they are handsome striped loom-wrought fabrics of rich patterns, of which the French striped coloured muslins are printed imitations. They are manufactured of an infinity of patterns, but the principal kinds are the Rega-bootha, or small flowered ; the Kirkha-bootha, or large flowered ; and the Jhaldar, or netted patterns. The most elaborately worked cost as much as 2,000 rupees each. ULWAN.

"Ulwan, or plain shawl wool-cloth, is woven like plain muslin, without flower or ornament, and is made in pieces of various lengths. It forms the centre portion or mitton of shawls, and is used for turbans and cummurbunds. It is well adapted for ladies' dresses. Eight pieces of twenty yards each of the different colours above-named, at six rupees per yard, would cost 960 rupees.

Another fabric is made which may be included under the same head as Ulwan, called Muleedah-pushmina, being intended to imitate European broad-cloths. It is formed of Ulwan manipulated in a peculiar manner in water, so as by rubbing to teaze out the wool of the thread and raise it into a nap. A piece of twenty yards, at six rupees, would cost 120 rupees.

"A coarser fabric of the same class is manufactured in the Hill State, to the north-west of Simla, called Puttoo-peshmina, which possesses great softness and warmth in many respects rivalling fine broadcloth."

The following is Moorcroft's1 account of the shawl manufacture in Kashmir :

1 Moorcroft's Travels in Kashmir, &c., pp. 168 to 194. Vol. II. Murray : London, 1841.

"The first task of the spinner is to separate the different materials of which the fleece consists, usually in about the following proportions :

Coarse hair 1½ seers2
Seconds or Phiri 3/8 seers
Dust and foreign substances 2 1/8 seers
Fine wool 2 seers
  6 seers or 1 tarak.

1 The ordinary Indian seer is a little over 2 lbs., and may be that to which Moorcroft here alludes.

" Much attention is requisite to free the wool from the hair, and the process is a tedious one.

" The next step is cleaning and separating the wool. A quantity of husked rice is steeped in clean cold water, for a day and a night, or longer, until it becomes soft, when it is ground, or bruised upon a stone slab, to fine flour. Thin layers of this and of the picked wool are laid alternately, and squeezed with the hand until they are completely intermixed. A little water may occasionally be sprinkled over the heap, if the weather is hot and dry, else it is not necessary. Soap is never used, as it makes the wool harsh ; and its employment in Hindustan being communicated to the Kashmirians, induced them to boast that in this matter, at least, they were more knowing than the Europeans. After being thus treated for about an hour, the flour is shaken out, the wool opened and torn to pieces, chiefly by the nails, and made into somewhat square, thin, elastic pads called Tumbu. In this process the Phiri, or seconds wool, is extricated. Though too coarse [S. 125] for fine shawls it is used in the manufacture of those of inferior quality, and of a strong shawl cloth called " Patu.'' The tumbu is then worked out into a thin, flat roving, about half a yard long, which is called a Málá. The málá is folded up to the size of the tumbu, and deposited in a deep pot of red earthenware, called a Tuskas, to be out of the way of dust or accident, till required for the spinning wheel.

"The wheel is constructed on the same principle as that used in Hindustan, but varying in neatness of form and finish, according to its price ; the rudest, the Takhtidar; or Pachimlar, costs a half rupee; the Katzker, which is the most serviceable, three or four rupees ; and Pakhchedar, which is used by those who spin for amusement only, costs from six to 16 rupees. The iron spindle is enclosed in a cylindrical tube of straw or reed grass, and runs through two elastic twists of grass ; and instead of one line of radii, or spokes, supporting a continued circular wooden rim, there are two circular parallel walls of flat spokes in contact at their edges, leaving between them, at their outer circumference, an empty space. A hair cord, fastened to the loose end of one of the spokes, is carried across the space or trough to the end of the next spoke but one on the opposite side, and having been passed round, it returns to a spoke on the side from which it began. By a continuation of this process a rim is formed of a surface of hair cord, over which runs a small band that is said to be seldom cut by the friction to which it is exposed. The principle kept in view by this arrangement of spindle and rim, is to produce a continuance of soft elastic movements without jerk or stiffness, to prevent the yarn breaking on the occurrence of any slight interruption in drawing it out.

"Women begin to work at daybreak, continue with little interruption the whole day, if not taken off by other domestic affairs ; and extend their labour until very late in the night, spinning by moonlight, when available, and when they cannot afford to purchase oil for a lamp. The fine wool is commonly spun into about 700 gaz,1 each gaz consisting of 16 girahs, about equal to nails. This yarn is doubled and formed into twist, which is cut into 200 lengths, each length of 3½ gaz, this measure being suited to the length of the warp for a shawl. From the phiri, or seconds wool, about 100 gaz of yarn are also produced.

1 The Gaz or Guz is about 1 yard. The Girah is given as 2 inches.

" The yarn of the fine wool is sold sometimes by measure and sometimes by weight. A hundred lengths of yarn of fine wool doubled, and each 3 gaz, bring ordinarily seven tangas, or about seven pence. But if the same kind of yarn be sold without being doubled or twisted, the price is regulated by weight a pal bringing from 12 annas to one rupee four annas, according to the demands of the market. The yarn from phiri, or seconds wool, is sold only by measure, but the gaz employed consists of no more than 12 girahs, or nails, that is, of four girah less than the gaz in ordinary use. 100 yards of phiri twist, and each of two short gaz, or of 24 girah, sell for one and a half tanga2, three pice, or about three half-pence. Although calculations upon this matter can be little more than approximations, yet 3d. or 3½d. per day, or from 3 rupees to 3 rupees 8 annas, or from 6s. to 7s. a month, may be taken as the general earnings of an industrious and expert spinner in Kashmir : out of which, however, must be subtracted the price of the wool, leaving only 1 rupee 8 annas (or about 3s.) for her labour.

1 Thirty-two tangas or annas equal two rupees.

"If shawl wool be furnished to a spinner to clean and to spin, 8 annas are paid for spinning one pal, or 3½ rupees weight of yarn of the requisite quality for shawls. Sheep's wool, [S. 126] spun by contract, is paid for by the pao, or ¼ seer, at the rate of from 2 tangas, or 4 pice, to 12 annas per pao, according to the fineness of the yarn; and the spinning of this quantity into yarn suited for shawls will occupy a woman for eight days. There are several varieties of thread, distinguished by different degrees of fineness. From one pal of clean, fine, shawl wool a spinner will draw from 100 to 1,000 threads of 3½ gaz each. There is not such a difference between the price of coarse and of fine yarn as might be expected, owing to the greater expenditure on the former of a material that is dear, and on the latter, of labour that is cheap. Shawl wool is sometimes spun by men with a loose spindle like that used in Ladakh. These men are called Trakhans, and the yarn thus spun is the finest ; but very little of it is now made. Girls begin to spin at the age of 10, and 100,000 females are employed in this occupation in Kashmir. About one-tenth of this number are supposed to spin for the purpose of obtaining shawls for themselves, or for other members of their families, and nine-tenths to earn a livelihood.

"The Puimangù keeps a shop for the purchase of yarn, but also sends people to collect it from the houses of the spinners, who give notice of their approach by ringing a bell. The yarn is sold to the weavers at a profit of from one pice to a tanga in the rupee. As a large stamp duty is levied on shawl goods when finished, the exportation of the yarn is forbidden, and the prohibition is enforced by heavy fines and imprisonment. Much of it is, nevertheless, exported to those places in the Punjab where the expatriated weavers have settled.

"Having ascertained the kind of pattern most likely to suit the market, the weaver applies to persons whose business it is to apportion the yarn according to the colours required ; and when this is settled, he takes it to another, whose function it is to divide the yarn into skeins accordingly, and each skein is delivered to the Rangrez, or dyer. When the body of the cloth is to be left plain, the phiri, or seconds yarn, is alone given to be dyed. This is generally about the thickness of common cotton sewing thread, is loosely twisted, of a coarser quality than the yarn used for the cloth, and is prepared for employment in flowers, or other ornaments, from its standing higher, and being, as it were, embossed upon the ground.

"The dyer prepares the yarn by steeping in cold water. He professes to be able to give it 64 tints, most of which are permanent. Each has a separate denomination ; as for instance, the crimson is termed Gulanar (pomegranate flower) ; the best kind is derived from cochineal imported from Hindustan ; inferior tints are from Lac and Kirmis (Chermes}, distinguished as Kirmisi, Kirmdana, and Kirmisi lac, or cochineal, and lac chermes ; logwood is used for other red dyes ; blues and greens are dyed with indigo, or colouring matter extracted by boiling from European broad cloth. Logwood is imported from Mooltan, and indigo from India. Carthamus and saffron, growing in the province, furnish means of various tints of orange, yellow, &c. The occupation of a dyer is invariably hereditary. The whiter and finer the fibre of the wool, and the finer the yarn into which it is made, the more capable it is said to be of receiving a brilliant dye ; and this is one reason why the fine white wool of the goat is preferred to that of sheep.

"The Nakatu adjusts the yarn for the warp and for the weft. That intended for the former is double, and is cut into lengths of 3½ gaz, anything short of that measure being considered fraudulent. The number of these lengths varies from 2,000 to 3,000, according to the closeness, or openness of texture proposed, and the fineness or coarseness of the yarn.

[S. 127] " The weft is made of yarn which is single, but a little thicker than the double yarn or twist of the warp. The weight of the weft is estimated at half more than that of the warp. The Nakatu receives the yarn in hanks, but returns it in balls : he can prepare in one day the warp and weft for two shawls.

"The Pennakamguru, or warp dresser, takes from the weaver the yarn which has been cut and reeled and stretching the lengths by means of sticks into a band, of which the threads are slightly separate, dresses the whole by dipping it into thick boiled rice water. After this the skein is slightly squeezed, and again stretched into a band, which is brushed and suffered to dry ; by this process each length becomes stiffened and set apart from the rest.

" Silk is generally used for the warp on the border of the shawl, and has the advantage of showing the darker colours of the dyed wool more prominently than a warp of yarn as well as hardening and strengthening, and giving more body to the edge of the cloth. When the border is very narrow it is woven with the body of the shawl ; but when broader, it is worked on a different loom, and afterwards sewn on the edge of the Shawl by the Rafugar, or fine drawer, with such nicety, that the union can scarcely be detected. The silk is twisted for the border warp by the Tabgar. The warp differs in breadth, the narrowest consisting of 20, and the broadest of 100 threads. From the Tabgar the silk is handed to the Alakaband, who reels it and cuts it into the proper lengths. The operation of drawing, or of passing the yarns of the warp through the heddles, is performed precisely in the same way as in Europe, and the warp is then taken by the Shal-baf, or weaver, to the loom. The weavers are all males, commencing to learn the art at the age of 10 years. In all transactions there are two parties, the master, or Ustád, and the scholar, or Shahgird, the former being the capitalist, the latter the mechanic. Work is executed under four different conditions : first, for wages, when it almost always happens that a system of advances has occurred, by which the workman is so deeply indebted to his employer that he may, in some sort, be considered as his bondslave. Secondly, upon contract, of which the common term is, that one pice is paid for every hundred needles carrying coloured yarn that shall have been each once passed round as many yarns of the warp. Third, a sort of partnership, in which the Ustád finds all the materials, and the workmen give their labour. When a shawl is sold, the outlay of the Ustád is deducted from the price, and the remainder is divided into five shares, of which one goes to the master, and the other four to the workmen. The fourth mode is an equal division of the proceeds ; in which case the master not only finds the materials, but feeds the workmen. Three men are employed upon an embroidered shawl of an ordinary pattern for three months, but a very rich pair will occupy a shop for 18 months.

"The loom differs not in principle from that of Europe, but is of inferior workmanship. An Ustád has from three to 300 in his establishment, and they are generally crowded together in long, low apartments. When the warp is fixed in the loom, the Nakash, or pattern drawer, and the Tarah-guru and Talim-guru, or persons who determine the proportion of yarn of different colours to be employed, are again consulted. The first brings the drawing of the pattern in black and white. The Tarah-guru, having well considered it, points out the disposition of the colours, beginning at the foot of the pattern, and calling out the colour, the number of threads to which it is to extend, that by which it is to be followed, and so on in succession, until the whole pattern has been described. From his dictation the Talim-guru writes down the particulars in a kind of character or shorthand, and delivers a copy of the document to the weavers.

[S. 128] "The workmen prepare the tujis, or needles, by arming each with coloured yarn of about four grains weight. These needles, without eyes, are made of light smooth wood and have both their sharp ends slightly charred, to prevent their becoming rough or jagged through working. Under the superintendence of the Tarah-guru, the weavers knot the yarn of the tuji to the warp. The face, or right side of the cloth, is placed next to the ground, the work being carried on at the back or reverse, on which hang the needles in a row, and differing in number from 400 to 1,500, according to the lightness or heaviness of the embroidery. As soon as the Ustád is satisfied that the work of one line or woof is completed, the comb is brought down upon it with a vigour and repetition, apparently very disproportionate to the delicacy of the materials.

"The cloth of shawls is generally of two kinds, one plain, or of two threads, one twilled, or of four threads. The former was, in past times, wrought to a great degree of fineness, but it has been, of late, less in demand. The various twilled cloths are usually from five to 12 girahs, or nails, wide. Shawls are twilled, and are commonly about 24 nails broad, and differ in their extent of field. Two persons are employed in weaving a cloth of this breadth. One throws the shuttle from the edge as far as he can across the warp, which is usually about half way. It is there seized by the second weaver, who throws it onwards to the opposite edge, and then returns it to his companion, who, in his turn, introducing his fingers into the warp, forwards the shuttle to the edge whence it started, and then recommences the operation. The cloth thus made is frequently irregular, the threads of some parts of the woof being driven up tightly, and in others left open, from which results a succession of bands, sufficiently distinguishable whilst without colour, but still more obvious when dyed. The open texture is, in a degree, remediable by the introduction of fresh threads; but there is no sufficient cure for that which has been much compacted. One might be led to suspect that there existed some radical defectiveness in the principle of this mode of weaving not readily mastered, were not pieces of cloth found occasionally of an almost perfect regularity of texture. But the greatest irregularity is discoverable in those shawls which have the deepest and heaviest borders, and a further examination compels me to retract an observation somewhere made of the artist being so much engrossed by attention to the work of the pattern as to neglect the structure of the field. The edge of the warp in the loom is filled with the heavy thread of the phiri, or seconds yarn, charged also with colour, so that in a few lines the front of the worked part advances beyond that of the plain part or field, and an endeavour to equalize this betrays the weaver into a work which proves fruitless ; and, in general, the heavier the embroidery on the border, and, of course, the higher the price of the shawl, the less regular is the structure of the cloth. Such indeed, in some instances, is the degradation of the cloth in the field, as to induce some foreign merchants to cause it to be removed, and another piece to be engrafted within the edge of the border. But in this case there is no other remedy than in a judicious selection of a sheet of the same breadth and fineness; for, although two breadths of the narrow cloth might fit the vacant space, yet these must be joined by the rafugar in the middle; and, although this can be so done that the band differs not in thickness from the rest of the cloth, yet the joint is discernible when held between the eye and the light, from the threads in the joined breadth not being continuous in the same line; whereas any irregularity of this nature is drowned in the edge of the border. The best practice to ensure a good field seems to consist in weaving the border, in every case, separately, and inserting the field by the Rafugar.

[S. 129] "When finished, the shawls are submitted to the Purusgar, or cleaner, whose business it is to free the shawl from discoloured hairs or yarn and from ends or knots : he either pulls them out severally with a pair of tweezers, or shaves the reverse face of the cloth with a sharp knife ; any defects arising- from cither operation are immediately repaired by the rafugar. At this stage of the manufacture the shawls are sent to the Collector of the Stamp Duties, by whom an ad valorem duty of 26 per cent, is levied, and each piece is then stamped and registered. The goods are now handed over to the Wafurosh, or person who has advanced money on them to the manufacturer, and to the Mohkim, or broker, and these two settle the price and effect the sale to the merchant; the former charges interest on his advances, the latter a commission, varying from 2 to 5 per cent. The purchaser takes the goods unwashed, and often in pieces, and the fine-drawer and washerman have still to do their part.

"When partly washed, the Dhobi or washerman brings the shawls to the merchant, that they may be examined for any holes or imperfections ; should such occur, they are remedied at the expense of the seller; if there are none, the washing is completed. This is done with clear cold water, using soap very cautiously to white parts alone, and never to embroidery. Coloured shawls are dried in the shade ; white ones are bleached in the open air, and their colour is improved by exposure to fumes of sulphur. After being washed, the shawls are stretched in a manner which answers, in some degree, to calendering. A wooden cylinder in two parts is employed for this purpose, round which the shawl, folded so as not to be quite so broad as the cylinder is long, is carefully wrapped, being occasionally damped to make it fold tighter; the end is sewn down, two wedges are then gradually driven between the two parts of the cylinder at the open extremities, so as to force them asunder, and the surrounding folds of the shawl are thus stretched to as great an extent as is consistent with its texture. The piece remains in this state for two days, when it is removed to be packed. The packages are of various dimensions, but they are formed on one principle : the shawls are separated by sheets of smooth, glazed, and coloured paper, and they are placed between two smooth planks of wood, with exterior transverse bars, which, projecting beyond the planks, offer a purchase for cords to tie them together : the whole is then placed in a press, or under heavy weights, for some days, when the planks are withdrawn, and the bale is sewed up in strong cloth : over this a cover of tús, or of birch bark, is laid, and an envelope of wax cloth is added, and the whole is sewed up as smoothly and lightly as possible in a raw hide, which, contracting in drying, gives to the contents of the package a remarkable degree of compactness and protection.

"An immense variety of articles of shawl stuff are manufactured in Kashmir, besides the shawls themselves. Of them, also, there are two chief varieties, those made in the manner described, and the worked shawl (doshali amli), in which the whole of the embroidery is worked on the cloth, with needles having eyes, and with a particular kind of woollen thread, instead of the silk employed in the usual embroidered work. In the amli shawl, the pattern which is in every case delineated, but which at the loom is read off in certain technical terms from a book, is covered with transparent paper, upon which the outlines of the composition are slightly traced with a charcoal twig, and the traced lines are permanently defined by being pricked through with a small needle. The cloth intended to receive the pattern is rubbed strongly upon a smooth plank, with a piece of highly polished agate or cornelian, until it is perfectly even and regular. The pricked pattern is then stretched upon the cloth, and some fine coloured powder, [S. 130] charcoal or chalk, is passed slightly over the paper, which, penetrating through the holes, transfers the outline to the cloth underneath. This is next more accurately delineated with some coloured powder, rendered tenacious by mucilage of gum arabic, which, when the work is completed, is readily detached in dust by the hand.

"The use of patterns by the chain stitch embroiderer, and the carpet weaver of Kashmir, is more restricted to a confined number of forms, by being transferred from a wooden block to the cloth, in regard to the former, and to paper in respect to the latter.

"The following are the chief articles of this manufacture, with their usual prices.

" Shawls in pairs form the principal article of this manufacture, and have different names, according to their nature and quality, as plain white, coloured, embroidered in the loom, or by the hand with the needle, viz. :

"As all the following shawls are of the same dimensions, viz., 3½ gaz in length, and 1½ gaz in breadth, it is unnecessary to affix the measures to their several names.

" The ornaments of shawls are distinguished by different names, as Pala, Hashia, Zanjir, Dhour, &c., and these are divided into different parts. By the term Pala, is meant the whole of the embroidery at the two ends, or, as they are technically called, the heads of the shawl.

The Hashia, or border, is disposed commonly one at each side in the whole length, and if double or triple, gives particular denomination to the shawl.

The Zanjir, or chain, runs above and also below the principal mass of the Pala, and, as it were, confines it. [S. 131]

Tin- Dhour, or running ornament, is situated to the inside in regard to the Hashia and the Zanjir, eaveloping immediately the whole of the field.

The Kunjbutha is a corner ornament, or clustering of flowers.

The Mattan is the decorated part of the field or ground.

Butha is the generic term for flowers, but is specifically applied when used alone to the large cone-like ornament which forms the innsl prominent feature of the Pala. Sometimes there is only tine line of these ornaments, extending from the lowest Zanjir to the upper one. When there is a double row, one above the other, the Butha is called Dohad, Sehhad, up to five, after which it takes the name of Tukaddar.

Each Butha consists of three parts ; viz., the Pat or foot or pediment of leaves generally ; the Shikam, or belly, and the Sir, or head. The head is either erect, straight, curved, or inclined. If the Butha slope generally it is named Butha-kaj. The Thal, or net, is the work which separates the different Buthas, but sometimes the interstice is without ornament.

Jamawar signifies, literally, a gown piece. The length of this cloth is 3¾ gaz, and the breadth 1½ gaz.

This article branches into many varieties, as Khirkhabutha, large compound flowers, consisting of groups of smaller ones. This is used by the Persians and Afghans.


"These are made by the shawl weaver alone, and go largely into Hindustan, where they are dyed, the small green flowers being previously tied up in hard small knots, so as to be protected from the action of the dye, and are, of course, when untied, each surrounded by a small white field. Small eyes of spots of yellow, red, and of other colours, are supposed to harmonize with the green flowers and the new ground, and these are added by embroiderers of Chikkandoz.

Kasabeh or Rumal, women's veils, square shawls. These are from one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half gaz square, and are called


[S. 132] The following remarks on the shawl-wool of the domestic goat of Ladakh, and on that of the wool of the Wild Goat, including a notice of the manner in which the shawl-wool is picked from the fleece are also from Moorcroft :

"One of the most important articles of the trade of Ladakh is shawl-wool, of which it forms in some degree the source, but in a still greater the entrepôt between the countries whence the wool is chiefly supplied, Rodokh and Chan-than, and that in which it is consumed, Kashmir. The wool is that of a domestic goat, and consists of the under fleece or that next the skin beneath the outer coat of hair ; the breed is the same in Ladakh as in Lassa, Great Tibet and Chinese Turkistan, but the wool is not so fine as in the breeds of the districts on its eastern and northern frontier. The fleece is cut once a year, and the wool, coarsely picked either in the place from whence it comes or at Lé, is sold by the importer to the merchants at that city, by whom it is sent on to Kashmir. The Raja and Khalun deal extensively in this trade, but it is also shared by merchants both from Kashmir and Turan. About 800 loads are annually exported to [S. 133] Kashmir, to which country, by ancient custom and engagements, the export is exclusively confined, and all attempts to convey it to other countries are punished by confiscation. In like manner it is considered in Rodokh and Chan-than as illegal to allow a trade in shawl-wool except through Ladakh, and in the latter country considerable impediments are opposed to the traffic in wool from Yarkand, although it is of superior quality and cheapness. The hair of the goat after it is separated from the wool is made into ropes, blankets, and bags for home use, and as wrappers for bales of merchandise.

"Besides the fleece of the domesticated goat, that of the wild goat, under the denomination of Asali Tus, is exported in smaller quantities to Kashmir. It is of a light brown colour and exceeding fineness, and is worked into shawls, a kind of soft cloth called Tusi, and linings for shawl-wool stockings ; very few shawls, however, are made from this material.

"In general the pickers of shawl-wool are paid by the hair, but in this case the hair is considered unfit for making into ropes, &c. Shawls made of this material would be much softer, lighter, and warmer than those of ordinary fabric. When, without being picked, the Asali Tus is worked into Tusi it forms a warm, soft cloth of a drab or gray colour which is much worn in the hills. This article must be always high priced from the difficulty of procuring the animal that produces it, the wild goat rarely venturing within gun-shot during the day, and being obtained only by snares at night, when they come down from the mountains to browse in the valleys."1

1 * Moorcroft's "Travels in Kashmir," &c., vol. I., p. 346.

"On my way to Digar I had an opportunity of witnessing the manner in which the shawl wool was extracted from the fleece. After the hair of the goat had been cut short with a knife in the direction of its growth, or from the head towards the tail, a sort of comb was passed in the reversed direction, and brought away the finer wool almost unmixed with the coarse hair. The comb consisted of seven pegs of willow tied side by side and secured by cross bars ; the pegs were cut away at the points to the thickness of quills and were made slightly to diverge from each other. The operation was roughly performed, and brought away scales of the cuticle along with the wool. The wool, however, was at this season easily detached, for it is a curious provision of nature that with the setting in of warmer weather the delicate woolly clothing nearest the skin of the mountain animals being no longer needed, becomes loosened in its attachment, and is removed, if not by man, by the animals themselves. I noticed the yaks at the end of April very busy rubbing themselves with their horns and bringing off the finer hairs in considerable quantities. In sheep and dogs the wool rose to the end of the hair, and either fell off or was got rid of by the animals rolling on the ground or rubbing themselves against trees, &c., and I was told that the wild goats and sheep relieve themselves in the same manner of a vesture indispensable to their comfort in winter, but unnecessary and inconvenient in the heat of summer."2

 2 Op. cit., vol. I., p. 410.

[S. 135] On the subject of the sources of the different wools employed in the manufacture of various fabrics found in Northern India, considerable obscurity prevails. The group to which we have next to allude affords an illustration of this.


Plate VII.

The material called Puttoo, of which the examples given in the books are embraced in the next Table, is usually considered to be manufactured from the inferior qualities of shawl-wool, and such may often be the case ; but the fine down of other animals as, for instance, the camel, is, we believe, capable of making a fabric equally good in respect of softness. Two bona fide examples of Camel Hair Cloth are given in the end of the Table, and the latter of the two (No. 686) is found to contain a wool or down quite as fine as that in some of the true shawl-cloth fabrics.

The Puttoo is generally employed by the natives for making up into long coats called Chogas, of the form of which the figures 55, 56, and 57 at bottom of Pl. VII., afford illustrations.

The Choga is ornamented in a variety of ways, generally by means of silk braiding.

Those made of the fine Cashmere cloth are often gold embroidered (See two sitting figures to left in group 54, PI. VII., facing p. 118).

Plate IX.

Plate IX. opposite next page gives a very good illustration of ornamental braiding of the back, collar, and sleeves of a Choga of Cashmere cloth of the Puttoo variety, in which the material has been thickened, and a pile raised by some mechanical process.

This is a class of work in which the Native excels, and it is probable that were shapes suited to European taste supplied, he would find a steady market in the West for articles made of the fine woollen cloths which he has at command.


[S. 136]  In the next Table we have grouped certain fabrics which, unlike the Pultoo, are of a rather harsh description, like our Kerseymere cloths. These are occasionally used for Chogas, although not in such favour for that purpose as the soft, pleasant, Puttoo.

It would seem, however, that both are produced from the wool or hair of the same animals. This arises partly from the process of manufacture, and partly from the quality of the hair which varies according to the age as well as the part of the animal from which it is taken.

Although, therefore, these Kerseymere-like cloths are probably chiefly produced from the hair of the Shawl Goat, we are of opinion that just as the down of the Camel and Yak may be used for the manufacture of the finest Puttoo, so may the less fine hair of the same animals be employed to make the class of goods of which we are now speaking.

3.9.4. CAMEL-WOOL.

[S. 137] The following remarks,1 by Captain T. Hutton, on the wool of the Bactrian Camel will be read with interest :

1 Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal ; 1842 ; Vol. IX., p. 1185.

"The animal is so thickly clothed during winter with this wool, and its quality appears to me so much superior to most of those specimens of wools obtained in Armenia and Koordistan by Captain Conolly, that I should expect the article, if imported, to form a valuable commodity in the European markets. The wool of this animal is as yet but little used, a small quantity only being exported from Bokhara to Cabul, and I believe to Umritsur in the Punjab. The great bulk of it is said to be sent at present to Russia, and manufactured into a kind of broadcloth, called Salatiska, which is worn by soldiers."

Referring to certain specimens of the hair or wool of the Camel accompanying his note, Captain Hutton continues :

"No. 1 is a sample of the wool taken from the sides and back of a full-grown male Bactrian camel, in the winter clothing. It is so thickly disposed, that the skin of the animal can with difficulty be discerned beneath it, even when the wool is turned back for that purpose. In the spring, as the temperature grows milder, the whole of this wool detaches itself from the skin, being pushed off in masses and flakes by the hair which springs up beneath it, and which forms the summer clothing of the animal. It is at this season pulled or cut off, and after being cleaned, is either manufactured into woollens of different texture for home consumption, or exported in a raw state to Russia ; a small quantity also finds its way to Cabul and the Punjab. It is produced abundantly both in Bokhara and Balk, and the Steppes of Tartary. This wool is called "koork" or down. It appears to be little inferior in fineness to that procured from some breeds of Shawl Goats, while it possesses a decided advantage over them all, in being both of a much longer fibre, and far more easily freed from the hair.

"No. 2 is a specimen of coarse thread spun from this wool by the hand, i.e., without the aid of the wheel ; the wool is gathered into a mass, a small portion twisted into a thread by the fingers, and then attached to a cross stick with a weight ; or to a stone which is kept twirling round, while small portions of the wool are continually added. The threads thus made are coarse, and liable to break from being too loosely twisted. This method is, however, very generally practised, more especially in these districts ; the same also prevails in most parts of the Himalaya, and is in use even in the provinces of India in the spinning of cotton threads for common purposes.

"Woollens made from threads thus twisted are far more difficult to weave than those manufactured from threads spun by the hand-wheel, as the looseness of the twist often causes them to catch and break as the shuttle passes to and fro.

" No. 3 is a sample of the wool and hair taken from the fore-arm.

" No. 4 is taken from the under part of the neck and throat.

" The hairs in these samples are so long, that the trouble of cleaning the wool, would, I should imagine, be much lessened, and probably the hair itself might prove an useful article for making pencils and other brushes. These wools are all taken from an animal which wintered at Candahar, so that the probability is that the staple was not so long as it would have been had the camel remained in the more northern districts. There is also another thing to be observed, which is, that the beast was not worked during the winter season, and consequently the wool was uninjured by the friction of a load. It is both shorter and coarser [S. 138] when the animal has been laden. No doubt, too, there may be as much difference between the wools of different camels as between sheep ; but the samples sent may be deemed upon the whole a fair selection, considering the limited range of my observation on the subject.

" No. 5 is a sample of wool taken from the humps of a male Bactrian camel that had been much worked during winter.

" No. 6 is from the sides of the same animal.

" No. 7 from the neck and forearm.

" These are natural ringlets or bunches. The colour of these wools is generally that of the specimens sent, but the long hair of the neck and forearm sometimes has a reddish or ferruginous tinge.

"That which I have termed 'hair,' appears to be not very much, if at all, inferior to some of the coarser wools of Europe, while it possesses a decided advantage in being more than double the length of any sheep wool.

"In addition to the above I enclose a sample of a woollen cloth made from the soft wool procurable from the young dromedary.

"This is called 'Buruk Shootur-i.' It is made by the Huzareehs of the Cabul neighbourhood. It is manufactured in pieces of 15 to 18 inches wide, by 6 to 8 yards long, and the price varies with the size from 8 to 30 rupees per piece. There are other woollens, which are called ' hart ' and ' oormuk.'

"Oormuk forms part of the dress of the Turcoman people. It comes also from Bokhara. This is chiefly purchased by the wealthy, and sells from fifty to one hundred rupees per piece.

" Kart is somewhat similar to this. It comes from Bokhara and Turkistan, and is made from the wool of the yearling dromedary."

Of the hair of the Yak, to which reference has been made, the chief manufacture, in point of bulk, is a cloth used for making the black tents which constitute the only habitation of the people of Ladakh and other districts in the centre of Asia. The same material is also employed in making the bags which are used in the conveyance of goods of all kinds.

3.10. FELTS.

Nos. 660, 661, and 662 in the books, the particulars of which are included in the next and last Table in this division, are three specimens of Felt; the first being from Ladak, and the other two from Jeyporc and Rajpootana.

These felts are used for blankets and cloaks, and for making into leggings, &c.

Coloured wool is often used with great effect in the production of patterns upon the surface of the material.

The following is the description of the manufacture of felts, or Namads, given by Major EL B. Lumsden in his "Mission to Kandahar, 1860."

"The mode of manufacture is apparently very simple, and the beauty and accuracy of the patterns in the finer kinds is astonishing. A large mat, called chappar, formed of the stems of the Guinea grass, bound together with thin cords and crushed, is the principal instrument used in their production, and for the finer kinds a large knife is used for mowing down the surface to an equal level and developing the clearness of the pattern. The Un, which is the best sort of felt, consists entirely of sheep's wool, is usually a mixture of wool with goat's and camel's hair picked and cleaned.1 This is spread out evenly on the 'chappar' which is then rolled up with firm pressure with the feet (the Peshwaries employ the back of the forearm in this process) unrolled and re-rolled from the opposite end. This process of rolling backwards and forwards, which occupies a considerable time, owing to the slow and continued to-and-fro action that accompanies the rolling and unrolling and revolving is continued for four or five hours, by which time the fibres have become firmly and intimately interwoven.2 The felt is now taken up, washed [S. 141] with soap and water, dried, and again stretched on the chappar, when coloured patches of wool are arranged according to pattern on its surface, and the whole is then again submitted to the rolling process for four or five hours, after which the felt is completed and fit for use. The finer kinds are trimmed with a mowing-knife, which greatly improves the appearance and brings out the distinctness of the colours. These felts are commonly used as carpets, cushions, bedding, horse- clothing, &c., and by nomades as a warm lining for their hair tents. They vary in price from one to two rupees to fifty or sixty rupees per piece, according to pattern, size, and quality."

1 He tells us in another part of the work that great attention has to bo paid to having the wool thoroughly carded and cleaned first.
2 In order to assist the felting-process we believe that hot water is employed in connexion with the operation here described.


[S. 142] The class of manufactures to which we have now to refer are of interest not merely as frequently affording examples of taste of the highest order, but likewise on account of the probable commercial importance of some of them to India at a future period.

In India, as in all other countries where it is the custom of the inhabitants to sit on the floor or ground, rugs or carpets, varying in size from less than a yard to many feet square, are in common use amongst all classes, except, perhaps, the very poorest.

The manufacture is, therefore, one of very considerable extent ; but although the common kinds are made in almost every district throughout the country, the production of those of a superior description is confined to a comparatively small number of places. Amongst these some, such as Ellore and Masulipatam (in Madras), Warungul (near Hydrabad in the Deccan), Benares, Mirzapore, and Goruckpore, have long been favourably known, and appear calculated to retain their position, whilst in other localities the attempt to imitate European patterns is producing a degradation in the character of the productions which, if persisted in, will prove fatal to the trade.

In place of the beauty and truthfulness of the native design, some of the carpets and rugs lately imported into this country are simply hideous pale colours in contrast with raw yellows and blues common European chintz patterns intermixed with the distorted remains of fine native designs.


[S. 143] These errors are not those into which the native artist will fall, if left to himself.

They are, in the majority of instances, forced upon him by his European employer, who, believing in the rose and daffodil patterns of his youth, has yet to acquire the power of appreciating the higher and more refined art of the people amongst whom, for a time, his lot has been cast.1

1 A striking instance of this was afforded by a large carpet made in one of our Indian gaols of Berlin wool, and sent to the International Exhibition of 1862. The pattern consisted of big roses and other flowers, grotesquely distorted, and was, we believe, considered quite a chef d'oeuvre by the gentleman who directed and superintended its execution. At the termination of the Exhibition it sold for less than the original cost of the wool.

The carpets and rugs manufactured in India are of five kinds. The first is made entirely of cotton, and is of a close, stiff texture, and smooth surface. The ordinary name for these is Suttringee, and they may be said to be made here and there over the whole country, their use being almost universal. Several examples of the material of which these are made are given in the Books and referred to in the Table. They are extremely durable. No great variety is attempted in the patterns, which are usually modifications of blue and white stripes, with, occasionally, as in No. 440, the introduction of a figure.

In the second kind, the warp, like the last, is of cotton, but the woof is of wool. These are striped and woven in the same way as the ordinary Suttringee, which is by far the most common variety.

The Loom employed in weaving both these is horizontal, without either treadles or reed, and the warp is stretched out the whole length and breadth of the piece intended to be wrought. The woof is not thrown across with a shuttle, but is passed through by several workmen, who bring the threads together with wooden combs in place of a reed. The narrowest piece requires two men, and eight or ten are employed when the breadth is great.

The third kind is made of cotton, like the first, but instead of presenting the plain surface of the two last, a short thick-set pile of cotton is worked into it. This pile the workmen introduce with great dexterity, and, after a time, produce the pattern, which is frequently very handsome as well as intricate, without even looking at it.

The warp is placed vertically, and the various colours employed to form the pattern hang down from bobbins between the warp and the workmen. The woof is passed by the hand, and then driven home by the comb.

Plate X.

No. 698, Vol. XVIII, the last of the series, affords a specimen of the kind of carpet here alluded to, while the chromo-lithograph on Pl. X. facing next page attempts to exhibit the pattern and colouring of a very beautiful carpet, manufactured at Warungul, near Hyderabad, Deccan, and now in the India Museum.

In the fourth group we place carpets and rugs in which the pile is of wool. Three examples of these are given in the books with the object of showing the fabric, it being, of course, beyond our power to exhibit the pattern in this way.

These three examples have, moreover, been selected for us by Mr. Vincent Robinson for the purpose of showing the kind of material most suited for this market, the pattern according to his recommendation being left to the best native skill in Textiles of this sort that can be found on the spot.

[S. 144] No. 695, Vol. XVIII., is an example of a pile which is too long, or, as it is called, deep, to be recommended.

No. 696, from Warungul, a place which in point of quality of texture and of beauty of pattern has furnished some of the best examples of this class of goods ever sent to this country from India, is that which is considered suitable for imitation, and that which probably could be practically obtained ; although No. 697, from Bokhara, is the example nearest to perfection in the way of a carpet texture of the kind in question.

In the fifth and last division we place silk carpets, or those in which the pile is of that expensive material.

No. 700, the last example given in the Books, affords a specimen of this beautiful, but for all ordinary purposes, too costly production.

These silk carpets, however, frequently display a richness and beauty which it would be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain from the use of any other textile substance, and may possibly come into occasional use in the houses of the rich in this and other European countries. In India they are often used by the great on State occasions.

Plate XI.

In Plate XI. following Pl. X. opposite are given four illustrations of carpets and rugs in the India Museum Collection, which we have considered it expedient to present simply

in outline, it being extremely difficult by any method short of the most careful hand-work

to do justice to the colouring.

The foregoing concludes our remarks on the Textile Manufactures of India proper.

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