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The British East India Company[edit]

The source for the claims regarding the British treatment of the Bengali weavers should be cited. I assume that a reliable source exists. I've done a little bit of searching but haven't located it yet. (I see it mentioned as a legend in one or two books, but I don't see any primary-source documentation, only recent works that don't cite their own sources.) If we can't find the source, the anecdote should be deleted from the page. (talk) 19:10, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Because this claim is so startling, I also have been conducting a search for the story of the mutilation of the Bengali weavers also with no luck. I've seen a few Hindu nationalist sites repeating the claim, but also without citatation or much in the way of elaboration. The few details I've found imply that the mutilations occurred on two occassions on our around 1800, however on several occassions it is said that this tale is 'ancedotal' which seems to imply no documentation exists for the claim. Personally, I think even in 1800 news of such an event would have caused a scandal and a sensation in London, and I find it hard to credit that two apparently obscure events constitute the sort of systematic program which would have been necessary to destroy an entire trade. Likewise, I find it hard to credit the notion that equivalent textile work cannot be produced today, which is a separate claim that would require an authoritative citation. The only lamentations I can find concerning the lost art of muslin manufacturing date to about 1830-1870 (frex. The British Empire in the East, Magnus Fredrik Ferdinand Björnstjerna). Indeed, there seems to have been a lot of fretting over whether or not the art of Muslin manufacturing had declined during the 19th century, but nothing is worse than relying on books over a century old when seeking to describe the present state of the art. While it may well be true that tactile manufacturing arts in India waned in the early 19th century, it seems improbable that with modern analysis there exists a textile which could not be recreated should someone want to put enough money into it. On the other hand, an actual citation in an early 19th century book about the legend of the Bengali weavers would clarify at least in some measure of the historical authenticity of that tale, but given that British publications on the subject of the declining output of the Dacca weavers in 1813 make no mention of it and that trade in Muslin at that time was still estimated at above 10,000,000 rupees it seems likely that less prosaic causes were at work than systematic mutilation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:53, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Ok, while its true abscence of evidence is not proof of absence, I'm not finding any mention of this sort of program in scholarly articles on the subject. And in particular, detailed discussions of the history of British-Indian textile trade such as provided by M.P. Ghandi 'The Indian Cotton Textile Industry' suggest strongly to me that the whole charge is propaganda and slander, as the real history - while not necessarily flattering to the British - is far more complicated and adequately explains the decline in the craft without resorting to heresay about mutilations. If such things occurred, they don't seem to have been widespread or to have had much a role in the decline of the industry compared to British Industrialization and the erection of tariffs that killed India's formerly profitable export market. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:15, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

I fully agree, and have taken the liberty of removing the paragraph in question. In fact, it has been removed previously, and put back in again. At one point it was suggested that this was a calumny from the mud-throwing of Hasting's impeachment; certainly it needs some kind of verification. While it is available in the history, i'll add it here for ease of reference should anyone wish to find a good citation.
Under British rule, the British East India company could not compete with the local Muslin with their own export of cloth to India. Muslin production was repressed and the knowledge eradicated. Local weavers were systematically rounded up and their hands mutilated with removal of their thumbs. To date the method used has not been recreated as can be determined in the quality of the muslin produced today in comparison to the quality of the material produced until the seventeenth century.
Cheers, LindsayHello 05:40, 26 October 2011 (UTC)


I'm trying to find a definition for mousselin, which I take to be some sort of meat product (cf. consommé). Could muslin somehow be integral to its manufacture? — Nahum Reduta [talk|contribs] 08:28, 13 November 2008 (UTC)


Can anyone knowledgeable talk about the actual weave of the muslin fabric? I am trying to understand the difference in weaves between common fabrics. Is it a plain weave like percale? Thanks. Drawn Some (talk) 17:07, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

United Kingdom[edit]

In the UK muslin refers to a very fine cotton fabric with an open weave, like a lightweight gauze. It is virtually transparent. It may have entered fashion as a substitute for fine silk which it resembles, and was essential for creating the greco-roman look so favoured in the Regency period. Because of its near transparency it would normally be worn over a petticoat, although the more racy youngsters amongst the upper classes would wear muslin gowns without underwear and even dampen them.

It is similar in weave to the fabric known in the UK as cheese cloth. Because of its open weave Muslin was often used to strain fruit jellies. Such a jelly sieve was referred to as a muslin. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:17, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

I was wondering about this - what we call muslin in the UK is not something I would call 'finely-woven' - it's a fine cloth, as you say, but with a rather loose weave. Are we talking about completely different things? Calico (textile) suggests that this article is about what we call calico in Britain, but I've never actually come across that so I don't know! --Oolong (talk) 15:50, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah in NZ we call cheesecloth "muslin" and it doesn't seem like thats the same fabric this article refers to! Also, I've never heard calico called "mutton cloth" here! O_o (talk) 23:22, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
I have no idea why the Americans call unbleached calico muslin. Muslin is a completely different cloth, like a Gauze. Most likely it is because we only exported printed Calico to them, and when they came across the other kind, they needed a different word and picked on muslin in error. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:32, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
"Cambric muslin" had a denser weave. Perhaps that was similar to a calico. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:22, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Etymology and pronunciation[edit]

It would be excellent if someone could expand on the origin and various pronunciations of muslin, particularly by region. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:51, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Non-Clothing Uses[edit]

This section is very US-centred. In dressmaking in the UK, at least, what is referred to here as making a muslin, would be called making a "Toile." This would be made of unbleached Calico, or what is called muslin in the US. It would be more accurate to say this:

When sewing clothing, a dressmaker may test the fit of a garment, using an inexpensive fabric such as Muslin(US)/Calico before cutting the intended expensive fabric, thereby avoiding potential costly mistakes. This garment is often called a "muslin" in America, and a "toile" elsewhere, and the process is called "making a muslin (or toile)". With the availability of inexpensive synthetic fabrics, which closely resemble the hand (drape and feel) of expensive natural fabrics, a test or fitting garment made of synthetics may still be referred to as a muslin or toile, because the words have become the generic terms for a test or fitting garment in and outside the US respectively. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:07, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

Medical use[edit]

Isn't muslin gauge quite common all around in medical use, e.g. for dressing wounds? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:35, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Culinary uses[edit]

If muslin were used to wrap a pudding for boiling, it would become very soggy. The correct cloth for wrapping a pudding for boiling is a close woven cloth such as calico. This is first boiled and then floured so that the surface is sealed to prevent the water getting in. You could not do this with muslin as the weave is too loose. Since Christmas Pudding is usually thought of as British, and the British would not call this type of cloth muslin, this is rather misleading and should be moved to a page about calico. (talk) 16:01, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Muslin as bullet-patch[edit]

Muslin was used as a round-ball patch supplied in preloaded cartidges for the Mississippi Rifle, officially known as the Model 1841 U.S. Rifled Musket. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hara-jo (talkcontribs) 01:06, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Obama is not fabric[edit]

Okay so that headline is a bit cheeky, but you get my point. Perhaps this page should link to Muslim. (talk) 12:55, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Despite how ridiculous your header is, I've added a tag for this. -- Fyrael (talk) 23:31, 10 September 2013 (UTC)


[Note: I found that this text had been added to the article and accordingly placed it here. A. Parrot (talk) 06:04, 16 January 2013 (UTC)]

This article has so big a problem that renders it not only useless, but spreading misinformation. > it's naming and history is of MUSLIN but every other info is about CALICO which also originates in india. (But not in bangladesh, its from kerala) MUSLIN is NOT a simple unbleached, or white cotton! Its CALICO ! Its even more shameful that this article already mentions this problem. In United States muslin is a widely used word for calico. So maybe people saw this article, and tried to contribute; adding things like 1910 studio use or this medicine paragraph. But these should be in calico not here! I demand immediate attention of an administrator to read up about this and read the article about muslin and remove whatever references to uses of calico this article contains. And raise this issue to some admin who knows bengali. I recommend the bn wiki admin ragib hasan. And kindly place this text on the talk page, as im using a very unsupported device for that task. (talk) 06:00, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

This article and the Jamdani article appear to be about the exact same topic. I'm not very knowledgeable regarding fabrics, so I could be completely wrong, but to a layman this would seem to be the case. -- Fyrael (talk) 23:12, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Jamdani and Muslin both are not exact same! in Bangladesh several types of Muslin were produced, collectively called by different name, most notably Malbus Khas, Sarkar-e-ala, Bodon Khas etc. Jamdani is one of them. Samudrakula (talk) 22:27, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
I do not agree.
Muslin or Moslin has a unique history. It used to be produced in the area, which is now known as Dhaka. The moslin was very costly, only the wealthy people and kings/queens could afford them. When Britain colonized India, they cut off the fingers of the weavers, so that they cannot weave it anymore. There are multiple suggestions about why they did it. That moslin is gone for ever.
In present day, many different types of moslins are produced in many different places including Dhaka. But, they are not like the previous moslin in any way. Wiki_Blessed — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wiki Blessed (talkcontribs) 16:44, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
WikiBlessed, can you provide references on the colonial suppression of the muslin industry?--Bazaan (talk) 07:25, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Bazaan; here are some pros and cons discussions [1] [2][3]----Samudrakula (talk) 07:03, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Jamdani deserves its own article, as it is a highly developed form of muslin with a distinct cultural heritage. However, as someone suggested earlier in this page, this article should have a section dedicated to the various types of muslin. The corresponding article in Bengali Wikipedia can serve as an example.--Bazaan (talk) 11:29, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  • "Muslin" has a general meaning in the English language, that of plain-woven cotton fabric. It comes in many qualities and weights ranging from sheers to coarse. The celebrated muslin of Bengal was a sheer variety of muslin that came to be called "muslin" in English only in the 17th century. Before that, the fabric was known by another name in the vernaculars of India. Consequently, we can't make this article, which is about a more general fabric, only, or even mainly, about the muslin of Bengal. As is well known, the name, "muslin," itself comes from Musul, Iraq (its etymology attested to by all major dictionaries and encyclopedias: OED, Webster's Unabridged, and Britannica). I don't see a case for a merger; however, as user:Bazaan suggests, Jamdani should have its own article, and it could be mentioned in this article. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:21, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Consensus seems pretty clear here, so I've removed the proposed merger tag from Jamdani. Thanks to everyone for the input. -- Fyrael (talk) 00:46, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Citation differs from article[edit]

The article currently states

Brutality to muslin weavers was intense, William Bolts noting in 1772 that "instances have been known of their cutting off their thumbs to prevent their being forced to wind silk."[13]:194

The cited reference actually says

.. the winders of raw silk, called Nagaads, have been treated also with such injustic, that instances have been known of their cutting off their thumbs, to prevent their being forced to wind silk"

As awful as this sounds, that seems to have nothing to do with muslin, since it's winders of silk rather than cotton. NotYourFathersOldsmobile (talk) 21:20, 5 March 2016 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Muslin/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section. (talk) 16:06, 17 July 2008 (UTC)We have found another use of muslin sheets here at the Larsen Museum. It appears that 6'x6' sheets were used in the early parts of the 20th Century for instructional displays here in Nebraska. The program was called Caravan and the sheets were apparently hung in railroad cars which were shunted and parked in various towns. The sheets contained information and diagrams of farm buildings (Homes and various types of sheds) granaries, brooders etc. including choice of materials, design parameters etc. We have 32 of those sheets. They are in perfect condition after so many years. The actual metarial is listed on one of the canvases as:INDIAN HEAD PERMANENT FINISH.Dr. Louis I. Leviticus, Curator

Last edited at 16:06, 17 July 2008 (UTC). Substituted at 00:40, 30 April 2016 (UTC)