Drik-British Council_Legend of the Loom

Documentary film 'Legend of the Loom', featuring the history and evolution of the world famous Muslin fabric has been screened at the British Council in association with Bengal Muslin and Drik on 11 September 2017. Produced under a project initiated by Drik with the aim to revive the lost glory of Muslin titled ‘Drik-Bengal Muslin’, the documentary gives a comprehensive picture of the history of Muslin weaving and the sorry states of the successors of the rich tradition. Muslin was the attire of kings and queens, a fabled fabric which was the pinnacle of European fashion in the 18th and 19th century. Originally called ‘mul-mul’, it was named by Marco Polo after the large cotton trade through the town of Mosul in Iraq. Muslin was the most sought-after textile and at its height had reached all corners of the globe. Muslin literally brought fame to weavers of the Bengal for its delicacy, purity and fine quality. However, in course of time muslin got lost.

Shot in different locations in Bangladesh, India and in several European countries, ‘Legend of the Loom’ shows how Muslin was patronised by the Mughals and was introduced to the world by the Arabs.

It also shows how Europeans, especially the British and French, dominated the trade of Muslin fabric during the colonial period. While narrating the history, ‘Legend of the Loom’ shows that eminent British author Jane Austin, British queen Elizabeth and French queen Marie Antoinette were among the admirers of Muslin. The documentary also shows the search for an extinct special cotton plant which was the raw material of the finest Muslin produced in Dhaka. Today Muslin’s unique cotton plant, the phuti karpas which grew on the banks of the Meghna and its tributaries, is believed to be extinct.The screening was also showcased with the display of fine Muslin pieces by the Bengal Muslin.