Man operating a silk loom, Ghotal, Midnapur
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a man operating a silk loom at Ghotal in Medinipur, Bengal, taken by an unknown photographer in c. 1873, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections. This image was probably shown at an International Exhibition. The production of silk fibre is a complex process with two distinct parts, the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of the larvae of the silk moth which feeds upon its leaves. Silk is a luxury fabric because of the difficulties encountered in producing the fibre and is still highly prized. Many garments and products are made of silk today but, in India, the main garment produced is still the sari. Silk weavers are skilled in the production of many traditional types of patterns and cloth including fine silk muslins, heavy raised patterned brocades, overall checked patterns and complex border patterns which are then woven onto the main piece of cloth.